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Does A Charge Off Happen Often?

Nov 21, 2007
Perhaps your creditors are threatening to charge off your credit account. What does that mean? Maybe you don't even know what a charge-off is, much less how damaging it can be to your credit, or what kind of effects it will have on you in the future.

Maybe you would like to know a little bit about what a charge-off is before you take any action on it. How does a collection account become a charge-off, and when? What is a charge-off anyway?
What is it?

A charge off is often mistaken for a credit account closure. Many people believe that when creditors threaten to charge off your credit card account, they are just telling you that they are going to close it so that you no longer have the ability to charge on that account. However, the closing of your account happens much sooner after you have failed to pay your bills than a charge-off does.

When a collection account becomes a charge-off, it means that the creditors you owe money to have been forced by the rules of accounting to zero out the balance that you carry in their books, so that it appears that you have paid off your debt. However, they will not simply forgive your debt and go on as if you have paid the money owed. They will continue to hound you about paying that balance back so that they do not end up losing money on your behalf.

They will also make you pay not only by getting the money out of you eventually, but by damaging your credit report. When your account becomes a charge-off, your credit score goes down and a substantial black mark goes on your credit report for quite some time. If there is any option you could take rather than having your account charged off or going bankrupt, do it, because your reputation in the world of credit will suffer greatly as a result of these options.

However, it is not the end of the world if your account is charged off. Like any other mistake on your credit report, it will eventually be erased, and you can build your credit back up to where it was or higher with time, more experience, and better credit management. It is hurtful to your ability to get credit in the future, yes, but it will go away eventually.

Usually a charge-off occurs about six months after you have failed to pay your bills. After six months, if you have not paid your debt, the balance on your credit account will zero out, but your creditor will continue to demand the money from you, and your credit report will only have been damaged more because of it, to say nothing of the damage done by all of those late and/or neglected payments. The longer you put off paying your bills, the more it is going to hurt you.
About the Author
Court provides information about unsecured personal loans and teaches people how to pay off private student loans.
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