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What is Bank of America Collections?
If you have a credit account with Bank of America and you’ve missed some of your bill payments, you might start receiving calls and letters from Bank of America Collections asking you for money.
Bank of America’s other names
As a large financial company, Bank of America has many divisions and subsidiaries that go by different names. This means that it’s possible you’ll be contacted by BOA Collections even if you weren’t aware you had a Bank of America credit account.
Specifically, Bank of America also does business under the following names: 2
- Bank of America Auto Leasing
- Bank of America Investment Services, Inc.
- Merrill Lynch
- Merrill Edge
- Bank of America Corporation
- Merrill Edge Financial
- FIA Card Services
- Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
- BankAmericard Center
- Bank of America Financial Center
Who does Bank of America Collections collect for?
Bank of America Collections is a first-party debt collector, meaning they collect on debts that customers owe to them.
In other words, if you see a BOA Collections account on your credit report, it means you have overdue debts on a Bank of America credit account (or they at least think you do).
Is Bank of America Collections a scam?
No, Bank of America Collections isn’t a scam. They’re the legitimate debt collector for Bank of America, which is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). 2
However, like any other debt collector, Bank of America Collections may still behave unethically or make mistakes when trying to collect payments. It’s also possible that Bank of America will hire other third-party debt collection agencies to help them collect their debts, and those agencies might violate your rights, even if BOA doesn’t.
Scammers may also claim to represent Bank of America Collections when calling you. That’s why you should always verify the validity of any debts you’re contacted about before taking further action. To do so, contact Bank of America’s collection department directly using the contact information provided on your most recent credit card statement or the number and address provided below for credit card billing inquiries.
Understand your rights
Because Bank of America Collections is a first-party debt collector (meaning they collect debts on their own behalf), they don’t have to abide by the same laws that apply to third-party debt collection agencies (which collect debts for other companies and individuals).
Specifically, Bank of America Collections isn’t required to adhere to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which means that (depending on the laws in your state) there may be fewer restrictions on how and when they can contact you.
However, you still have several options for fighting Bank of America Collections and getting the collection account off your credit report, which we’ll describe below.
Beware of the statute of limitations on debt
Depending on how long it’s been since you failed to repay Bank of America Collections, it’s possible that your debt is old enough that it’s passed the statute of limitations. This is a legal limit on how long Bank of America Collections can sue you over the debt. After this period passes, it’s known as time-barred debt.
The statute of limitations on most debts is between 3 and 6 years, but the exact amount of time depends on several factors, including the state you live in and the type of debt that it is.
To find the statute of limitations on your debt, check your state attorney general’s website and email their office if the information you’re looking for isn’t available online.
How to remove Bank of America Collections from your credit report
If your credit score is suffering as a result of Bank of America Collections debt, there are two ways to recover:
1. Dispute the debt
You should immediately dispute the debt if it isn’t yours or if it’s older than 7 years (measured from the date of your first missed payment)—by law, collection accounts are supposed to fall off your credit report by then.
To dispute a debt for free, send a credit dispute letter to the credit bureaus that are showing Bank of America Collections on your credit report. You should also send a dispute letter to Bank of America Collections.
To find out which credit bureaus you need to send the letter to, request your free credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion at AnnualCreditReport.com. If they don’t respond to your dispute within 30–45 days, then they’re legally obligated to remove the item from your credit report.
2. Negotiate with Bank of America Collections
Unfortunately, if the debt is legitimate and it’s less than 7 years old, removing Bank of America Collections from your credit report will be very difficult (although not impossible).
Your best move at this point is to simply pay the debt. Newer credit scoring models, such as FICO 9 and VantageScore 3.0, ignore paid-off collection accounts, which means paying off your collection will boost your credit score even if you can’t remove the item from your credit report.
However, when you pay, there are two negotiation strategies you can try as a last-ditch attempt to remove Bank of America Collections from your report:
- Pay for delete: You might be able to convince Bank of America Collections to remove the negative mark in exchange for paying off the debt. You can open these negotiations by sending them a pay-for-delete letter.
- Goodwill deletion: This is an alternate strategy you can try after paying your debt. Once the account is paid off, you can send Bank of America Collections a goodwill letter asking them to empathize with your situation and remove the mark from your credit report as an act of kindness.
How to file a complaint against Bank of America Collections
If you’re unhappy with how Bank of America Collections is treating you, then you can file a complaint on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website.
However, bear in mind that the BBB is a private organization that has no affiliation with the US government. The BBB will forward your complaint to Bank of America Collections, but there’s no guarantee that Bank of America Collections will address it in a satisfactory manner.
Alternatively, if Bank of America Collections has done something illegal, then you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or your state attorney general.
Can I sue Bank of America Collections for harassment?
No, you can’t sue Bank of America Collections for harassment. You may have heard that you can sue debt collectors for harassing you, but this doesn’t apply to Bank of America Collections since they’re a first-party debt collector and they’re not required to abide by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
However, you may be able to sue Bank of America Collections if they violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act when calling you. You may also be able to press charges if a representative threatens you.
How to stop Bank of America Collections from calling you
Bank of America Collections will contact you by whatever means they see fit if they believe you have an unsettled debt, and they won’t stop unless you pay the debt or reach an agreement with them.
Ordinarily, debt collection agencies have to stop calling you if you send them a debt verification letter. However, Bank of America Collections isn’t obligated to do so because they’re a first-party debt collector—they collect their own debts, not debts owed to other companies. This means that many of the normal laws on debt collection, such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), don’t apply to them.
Nevertheless, you can try these approaches to get them to stop calling you:
- Send them a letter: Although this isn’t guaranteed to work, you can try sending Bank of America Collections a letter asking them to stop calling you and only communicate with you in writing. They may be more likely to agree to your request if you previously had a good relationship with them.
- Block their calls: You can set up a call-blocking service by contacting your phone service provider or downloading a blocking app onto your mobile phone. However, bear in mind that this comes with risks—for example, they may be more inclined to sue you over the debt.
Note that, depending on where you live, it’s possible that stricter laws actually do apply to Bank of America Collections. Several states have their own laws (often modeled off of the FDCPA) that place more stringent restrictions on first-party debt collectors. Look up your local legislation and consider consulting with an attorney to learn more.