Market Snapshot: Trends in Third-Party Debt Collections Tradelines Reporting
This report provides an overview of the trends in third-party debt collections tradelines on consumer credit reports from 2018 to 2022. The report uses data from the Bureau’s Consumer Credit Panel (CCP), a national 1-in-48 sample of de-identified credit records maintained by one of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies. A collections tradeline is an item on a consumer’s credit report. It includes information about an individual’s allegedly unpaid bills. Credit scoring models use the information contained in tradelines, including collections tradelines, to generate a consumer’s credit score. Collections tradelines, which are considered negative, generally may appear on a consumer report for up to seven years. Among other things, the report finds:
- From Q1 2018 to Q1 2022, the total number of collections tradelines on credit reports declined by 33 percent, from about 261 million tradelines in 2018 to about 175 million tradelines in 2022.
- The decline in furnishing is driven by contingency-fee-based debt collectors, who furnished 38 percent fewer tradelines from Q1 2018 to Q1 2022.
- The number of contingency-fee-based debt collectors furnishing tradelines declined by 18 percent (from 815 to 672) over the same period, while the number of debt buyers who furnish collections tradelines held constant from 2018 to 2022 at 33.
- Contingency-fee-based debt collectors primarily furnish medical collections tradelines, while debt buyers primarily furnish financial collections tradelines.
- Medical collections tradelines still constitute a majority (57 percent) of all collections on consumer credit reports.
Debt collectors re-evaluate medical debt furnishing in light of data integrity issues
CFPB Finds One-Third Decline in Collections Items on Consumer Credit Reports