By Melissa Cook Reviewed by Minh Tong Updated Mar 14, 2023

A Charge-Off is a financial term used to describe a situation where a creditor writes off an outstanding debt as uncollectible. 

In simpler terms, it means that the creditor has given up on trying to collect the debt and has decided to close the account.

When a borrower fails to make payments on a debt for an extended period, the creditor may choose to declare the debt as delinquent. After a certain amount of time, the creditor may decide to charge off the debt, which means that the debt is considered to be a loss for the creditor.

When a debt is charged off, it does not mean that the borrower is no longer responsible for the debt. The borrower is still obligated to pay the debt, and it will remain on their credit report as a negative mark. In fact, a charge-off can severely damage a borrower’s credit score and make it difficult to obtain credit in the future.

After a charge-off occurs, the creditor may sell the debt to a collection agency, which will attempt to collect the debt on behalf of the creditor. The collection agency may use various tactics to try to collect the debt, including phone calls, letters, and even legal action.

If a borrower is unable to pay the debt, they may choose to negotiate a settlement with the collection agency. This means that the borrower agrees to pay a portion of the debt in exchange for the creditor forgiving the remaining balance. While a settlement may help to resolve the debt, it will still have a negative impact on the borrower’s credit score.


Melissa Cook

Melissa has a degree in English and marketing from University of California Irvine. She is a creative and accomplished content writer and editor with comprehensive experience developing rich, compelling content for a variety of websites. With her expertise in writing a broad range of content, combined with outstanding interpersonal skills and commitment to exploring innovative ideas, Melissa has done an excellent job developing content for blogs, articles, social media, and the company website. When she is not writing, Melissa spends most of her time cooking, traveling the world, and catching her favorite Broadway shows.