Home > Managing Debt > Does a Debt Collector Have to Give Me a Receipt?

Comments 0 Comments
Advertiser Disclosure


You got the dreaded call from a debt collector, you’ve verified that you do actually owe the debt and you’re ready to pay. Now you need to make sure you have proof that you’ve settled the debt.

“It is important to have a paper trail of the payment, and a receipt is one way to do that, if they will provide one,” Thomas Nitzsche, media relations manager for ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions, said. “If you are settling the debt for less than the full balance, then it is especially important to get something in writing from the creditor because your partial payment alone won’t prove it is resolved if they have agreed to a settlement.”

Debt collectors are not required to provide a payment receipt, Nitzsche said, but they will often do so if you ask, and they are required to provide documentation of the debt when they first contact you. This includes the name of the creditor, the amount and how you can dispute or request verification of the debt.

To ensure that your settlement payment is properly documented, especially if the debt collector won’t provide a receipt, make your payment using a method that will leave a paper trail.

“Send payment by mail, return receipt requested, and keep a copy of the canceled check or a copy of the money order,” Nitzsche suggested.

Communicating with Debt Collectors

Remember, when you’re contacted by a debt collector, it’s important to know your rights. There are strict laws dictating what debt collectors can and cannot do. Also, it’s a good idea to check your state’s statute of limitations on debt collection to be sure you are still legally responsible for the debt.

One of the worst things consumers can do is deliberately avoid communicating with debt collectors. Most consumers tend to communicate with the debt collectors only when they are in a position to start repayment. While that is great, it is also just as important for consumers to communicate with debt collectors when they aren’t in a position for repayment as well.

Once a debt collector understands a consumer’s situation, and especially when a consumer isn’t in a position to repay, it will change how they handle the account. While the debt collection calls may continue, they will be much less frequent when the debt collector is aware of what is going on. So even if consumers are not in a position to pay, they should take the time to speak with the debt collector, if for nothing else than to update their records.

It’s also important to check your credit as you negotiate with debt collectors. Collection accounts can have a significant impact on your credit scores, so it is important to know whether they are being reported and how they are impacting your scores. You can monitor two of your credit scores for free with a Credit.com account.

Image: g-stockstudio

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team