Paid-up letters are one of the most important documents relating to your loan, but a lot of people don't know how important they are or how they can affect your credit score as a whole.
Here's what you should know about paid-up letters, how to request one, and what to do if you're having a hard time getting one after settling credit.
All About Paid-Up Letters
Paid-up letters are one of the most important documents from a credit provider. It's one that you'll receive (or be able to download from their website) when you've paid off the last of a credit agreement or loan – but sometimes paid-up letters are something you have to ask your loan provider for first.
A paid-up letter is proof that the outstanding loan has been paid.
If your credit score is in dispute or you get refused a loan from the same company, it might be because an earlier loan never had a paid-up letter issued.
When you take a look at your credit score and see an outstanding loan that you know has been paid, you will need to get a paid-up letter to confirm that this loan has been settled for your credit score to be updated.
The Consequences of Not Having Your Letter
What's the worst that could happen when you don't have a paid-up letter in your hands?
Paid-up letters are confirmation that a loan has been paid. If you don't have a paid-up letter for the outstanding account, then it might affect your credit score as a whole and companies might read this loan as “unpaid” or “outstanding” on the system.
Not having a paid-up letter can:
The easiest way to know if you have any loans that show as outstanding is to check your credit score. Here, you can see any loans that are claimed outstanding to your name. If you know that you've made full payment on a loan, you'll have to contact the credit provider (usually with a proof of payment) in order to receive your paid-up letter.
Struggling to Get It?
Many credit providers will either:
(1) Automatically send the paid-up letter to your e-mail address or give you a link to download it once your loan has been paid, or (2) Allow you to access a list of paid-up letters and loans through their online platform.
But not all banks and credit providers do this. Sometimes you have to ask.
Here's what to do if you've seen a paid-up loan show up as an outstanding one on your credit score:
Check Your Credit Score
The easiest way to find out if you have any claimed outstanding loans to your name is to check your credit score. It's easy to do online – and you'll know within just a few clicks. If you've been struggling to get loans approved lately, an accidentally outstanding paid-up loan might be the reason why.
Request It As Soon as Possible
Now that you know about paid-up letters, remember to request one for any credit accounts that have been settled from now on if you don't receive one by default.
File All Credit Documentation
Have a cloud folder (or an actual file) where you keep all documents that relate to credit, including quotations, settlement letters and paid-up letters.
Contact the Correct Department
Always contact the right department when requesting your paid-up letter from a credit provider. If you've asked them to send you the documents a hundred times without success, send your query to another department within the company – usually there's a specific one dealing with paid-up and settlement letters.
Request It in Writing
Messages like requests for paid-up letters are always best done in writing (usually via e-mail). This way, there's a paper trail in case you run into any difficulties with the company.
If you're having trouble with a loan company, it's time to approach the National Credit Regulator for recourse.
Alex J. Coyne
Alex J. Coyne is a writer, journalist and card player. He's been published in international publications including Moneyweb, CollegeHumor, Funds for Writers, Great Bridge Links, Bridge Canada Magazine and a variety of others