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Should you pay Firstsource Advantage LLC instead of your creditor?

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I have a credit card with Bank of America that has been charged off since 2011. I was making payments of $20 a month up until last August. When I began to check my credit, I noticed no payments were being recorded. When I asked BOA to send me a statement of where my money was going, I got no response.

I stopped payments in hopes they would contact me and I could get a current statement. This never happened. Now I am getting calls from Firstsource Advantage LLC. They have stated they work with BOA for collection purposes. I asked for a statement from them, which they could not give me. They asked what I could pay them, I told them I could pay 20 a month. They agreed, but I must send it to them, not BOA, as they can not give me credit for payments paid directly to the bank.

When Bank of America sends an account out to a debt collector like Firstsource Advantage, they are doing that as part of an agreement. A collection agreement like this will often mean Firstsource will try to get you to pay all of the balance owed; be willing to negotiate a settlement for less than what you owe; and as is the case with you, set up a monthly payment.

Firstsource Advantage, as the collection agency, often only gets paid when they get you to pay. And their agreement with BofA typically means you cannot call the bank to set up payments. If you do, it is normal to be referred back to Firstsource in order for you to set up the payments or resolve your account.

If you can afford to, you should look to resolve your debt with this debt collection agency.

Firstsource Advantage collects debt for many different companies.

Firstsource collects on all types of unpaid bills, including credit cards, medical debts, and student loans. They work with many different banks, and I regularly see them working BofA accounts.

While you quickly established that your bank sent your charged off account to Firstsource for collection, I am left wondering if they are trying to collect the correct amount from you, and also if paying $20.00 a month is an exercise in futility.

Given your comment about not seeing payments being applied to your account when viewing your credit reports, I would want to make sure that my payments for all those months were being credited.

How much was owed on your account when you stopped paying your credit card?

How much was owed at charge off in 2011?

How much is Firstsource trying to collect now?

If you cannot square all of your payments with what they assert you owe today, it could be that default interest has continued to be applied to your account. Depending on your balance at the time you fell behind the 20 dollar payments may not have been enough to put a dent in the principal.

I would want to make sure the balance owed represents an accurate accounting of all those good faith payments you made to Bank of America.

I would then make sure that any monthly payment you make to a collection agency is being applied to the principal balance, and not just getting soaked up by interest.

Negotiating settlements when your account is in collection.

Now that your account is charged off, and all of the credit damage is done, you can often improve your situation more by settling with First Source, than by agreeing to small monthly payments. You will of course need to be able to pull the money together to pay any deal that is negotiated, but here are some motivators to do just that.

  1. You can often settle unpaid credit card bills for half or less than the balance owed.
  2. Once settled, your credit is updated to show a zero balance and resolved collection. Monthly payments will often delay your ability to improve your credit credit situation.

Negotiating settlements brings finality. The account is resolved and you do not have to be concerned about BofA pulling your account from Firstsource Advantage and placing it with another debt collector. That means you remove any risk of having to deal with a less flexible collection agency, and will remove any fear of being sued for collection. I realize Firstsource is accepting of your $20.00 monthly payments, but you cannot expect that will always remain the case. I have seen too many instances where small monthly payments are not enough to retain the account long term, or where banks pull accounts and reassign them inexplicably.

There is something to be said for getting a deal done and put behind you, even when it makes things tighter for a time.

I do realize that sometimes there is just no other reasonable option than to agree to monthly payments. Just be sure that what you agree to is something you are confident you can keep up with. You do not want to continue to pay small amounts on a debt from 2011 if you are not making a dent in the balance owed, and are continuing to reage the SOL in your state to be legitimately sued for collection. It is sometimes better to ride the collection wave until you are in a better position to settle for a single lower lump sum, but be realistic about your chances for settling quickly.

I often share my opinion of other collection agencies on different pages of this site, and on many of our debtbytes YouTube channel videos that focus on a single agency. Feedback I have from customers and consumers we coach up to deal with Firstsource are mostly favorable. They are approachable and not difficult for you to communicate with. The payment deals and settlements you can target when dealing with them are going to vary from one account to the next (depending on who you owe), and from one person to the next (depending on your hardships and how much of a collection target you appear to be).

Anyone with questions or concerns about dealing with Firstource Advantage is welcome to post in the comments below for feedback. If you want to talk with me about your situation you are welcome to call me at 800-939-8357, option 2.

This article by Consumer Recovery network first appeared here and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

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