Unfortunately, if you owe an old landlord money on your rent, you may begin to hear from a debt collection service called National Credit Systems, Inc. It’s a third-party debt collector that the original creditor has hired to recover money from you.
It’s completely understandable during economic crises that funds are limited and customers need to make hard choices. While National Credit Systems’ incessant phone calls are annoying, its presence on your credit report is even worse.
Having a collections account on your credit report as reported by the three main credit reporting bureaus means trouble for your credit score. Negative items can impact your score for up to seven years, even after you have paid the debt, seriously harming your ability to qualify for low-interest rate credit cards or future loans. The best way to prevent extensive damage to your score is to remove the entry as soon as possible.
What is National Credit Systems?
Founded in 1991 in the U.S., National Credit Systems is a medium-sized debt collection agency that is based in Marietta, Georgia. It specializes in collecting money on behalf of apartment complexes and landlords. If you're a former resident who has moved out of an apartment early without paying your rent, you may hear from National Credit Systems on behalf of the apartment owner to collect on that debt.
Many people are curious if National Credit Systems is a legitimate company. After all, you are naturally going to be suspicious of someone who calls you out of the blue demanding money.
As a third-party collector, it is a legitimate operation, but this doesn’t make it popular. It currently has a whopping 2,600 complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and about 550 with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). These complaints are in relation to harassment, failure to validate debts and inaccurate reporting.
Steps to remove National Credit Systems from your credit report
Where do you begin when you are dealing with National Credit Systems?
Here are the essential steps to take to remove a collection account from your credit report:
- Request a goodwill deletion
- Verify the debt
- Negotiate a settlement
- Hire a professional
Request a goodwill deletion
If you have already paid the debt, you still have an opportunity to get the collection removed from your credit report. You can ask National Credit Systems for a goodwill deletion in exchange for your paid status.
A goodwill deletion is when the debt collector, in this case, National Credit Systems, agrees to stop reporting a paid debt to the major credit bureaus out of benevolence. To request a goodwill deletion, you will need to write a letter explaining the reason for your debt. If you have lost your job or had an illness that caused late payments, this is a good thing to mention.
You should also explain the reasons why you would like the entry removed, such as wanting to qualify for a mortgage or auto loan. In addition, always be polite in your goodwill deletion letter and refrain from demanding a deletion.
If National Credit Systems chooses to grant you a deletion, it would technically be doing you a favor. As with other things, it is best to approach the situation with kindness instead of entitlement.
Verify the debt
If you haven’t paid the debt, or if National Credit Systems denies your goodwill deletion, your next step is to verify the debt information. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you have the right to ask for debt validation from a debt collector. This act also protects you from unlawful threats to garnish wages without default judgments, obscene language or contacting coworkers and/or family about your debt.
It's not uncommon for information about debts to get lost when it moves from the original creditor to the third-party collector. In fact, it is possible that the debt doesn’t even belong to you.
The catch is that you must request debt validation from a collection agency within 30 days of its first contact with you. Otherwise, your request may not be valid.
To request debt validation, you will need to write a debt validation letter. This is a letter that asks National Credit Systems to confirm various pieces of information about the debt, such as the balance and the date.
After you send the debt validation letter, National Credit Systems should return with documents that prove that the debt belongs to you. Look over these documents carefully and note any information that is inaccurate.
If the information doesn’t match what you have, you can file a dispute with the three major credit bureaus. They are required to remove it, and you can get out of paying the debt altogether.
Negotiate a settlement
If you are unable to get the entry removed due to inaccuracies, you can try to negotiate a settlement with National Credit Systems instead. Specifically, you can try to work out a pay-for-delete agreement with them. A pay-for-delete agreement is when a collection agency agrees to stop reporting the debt to credit bureaus in exchange for payment on the debt.
It doesn’t want you to know this, but National Credit Systems may be willing to settle with you for less than the full amount. This is because it is possible that National Credit Systems paid pennies on the dollar for the debt, which means it only needs to make a portion of the balance back in order to turn a profit.
Start by offering to pay half of the debt in exchange for deletion. National Credit Systems will probably push back on this, so you will need to negotiate until you both reach an agreement.
Once you settle on terms, ask National Credit Systems to send you a written agreement. Once you receive your contract in the mail and confirm that everything looks good, make your first payment to National Credit Systems. Wait 30 days and then check your credit report.
By this time, National Credit Systems should have removed its entry from your credit report. If it hasn’t, reach back out to them and remind them to uphold their end of the bargain.
Work with a credit repair company
If all else fails, you can always hire a credit repair company to remove the entry for you. A credit repair company specializes in identifying and removing any negative entries on your credit report. It can also review your overall financial habits and help you improve your scores through better money management skills.
While credit repair companies are a great tool for those that are struggling with debt collectors, some are simply not worth the money. That’s why it’s important to work with a reputable company. Many recommend Credit Saint to those looking for a trustworthy credit repair company.
It’s an excellent institution that has helped its customers clean up their credit reports and boost their scores along the way. It understands the industry inside and out and will use its knowledge to help you get your financial goals back on track.
National Credit Systems contact information
Here's a list of current information on National Credit Systems:
President: Joel Lackey
Address headquarters: 3750 Naturally Fresh Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30349
Mailing address: P.O. Box 672288, Marietta, GA 30006
Phone number: 404-629-9595, Toll-Free: 800-367-1050
Dealing with National Credit Systems
No one enjoys dealing with debt collectors, but there are effective ways of dealing with them if they reach out to you. The steps outlined above can help you negotiate effectively with National Credit Systems and regain some financial control. By taking care of National Credit Systems’ entry on your credit report early, you can prevent major damage to your score in the future.
Update: This article has been updated to reflect the current number of CFPB and BBB complaints against National Credit Systems and provides their current contact information.
Disclaimer: This story was originally published on September 8, 2020, on BetterCreditBlog.org. To find the most relevant information concerning collections or credit card inquiries, please visit: https://money.com/how-to-remove-collections-from-credit-report/ or https://money.com/get-items-removed-from-credit-report/