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What is Southwest Credit Systems?
Founded in 1974, Southwest Credit Systems is the consumer debt branch of SWC Group, an accounts receivable management company based in Carrollton, Texas. SWC Group collects debt for government agencies and companies in the telecommunications, property management, and education industries. 1
In 2015, Southwest Credit Systems rebranded as SWC Group, retaining the Southwest Credit name for its consumer-facing site. 2
SWC Group provides the following debt collection services:
- Pre-collection services: If you have a debt that hasn’t been transferred to Southwest yet, they may contact you and warn you that it will be charged off and sent to collections soon if you don’t pay.
- First-party collections: Southwest works with creditors to help them collect their own debts. If SWC contacts you about a first-party collection, they’ll explicitly tell you that they’re representing your creditor.
- Third-party collections: SWC also collects debts on behalf of creditors who have given up their own internal collection efforts. If SWC contacts you about a third-party collection, they’ll probably try to collect the debt in their own name.
- Guaranteed revenue programs: SWC also provides collection services to toll agencies (essentially by tracking down motorists who fail to pay on toll roads).
What is SW CRDT SYS?
SW CRDT SYS is short for Southwest Credit Systems. All of the following names also refer to Southwest Credit Systems on your credit report:
- SWC Group LP
- SW Credit Systems
- SW Credit Systems LP
- Southwest Credit Systems LP
- SW Credit Collections
- SWC CRDT SYS
Who does Southwest Credit Systems collect for?
Southwest Credit Systems collects debts for government agencies as well as education, telecommunications, cable, and property management companies. 1
Here are some of the types of debts Southwest Credit Systems collects:
- Highway toll fees 3
- Utility bills
- Phone and cable bills
- Past-due rent
Is Southwest Credit Systems a scam?
No, Southwest Credit Systems isn’t a scam. They are a legitimate debt collection agency. SWC Group is accredited by ACA International and several other industry-specific organizations. 4
However, scammers may still try to get money from you by impersonating Southwest Credit Systems. If you’re contacted by someone claiming to work for Southwest Credit Systems, make sure to verify the debt before making any payments. You can do so by logging into their online portal or contacting them online, by phone, or by mail using the contact information below.
VIDEO: Southwest Credit Systems in 2 Minutes—Fix Your Credit Report & Know Your Rights
How to stop Southwest Credit Systems from calling you
Southwest Credit Systems will call, email, or mail you if they believe you have an unsettled debt. The reason debt collectors like these are calling you is simple—they want to pressure you into paying up.
Unfortunately, Southwest Credit Systems representatives will keep trying to contact you unless you pay the debt, prove that it doesn’t belong to you, or reach an agreement with them (or with your original creditor).
Don’t ignore debt collectors like Southwest Credit Systems—in the end, you may get sued, and you may even have your wages garnished. It’s smarter to engage with them tactically to ensure you don’t have to pay, or that you get the best deal you can.
To begin, you can get Southwest Credit Systems to stop calling you—at least temporarily—by sending them something called a debt verification letter.
Send a debt verification letter
A debt verification letter is a formal request that obligates a debt collector to provide further evidence of a debt. You must send it within 30 days of them first contacting you. Note that Southwest Credit Systems should have sent you a debt validation letter proving you owe the debt first, as it’s required by law.
Benefits of sending a debt verification letter
Sending a debt verification letter has three benefits:
- You’ll prevent Southwest Credit Systems from calling you during this period: When you send a debt verification letter, third-party debt collection agencies like Southwest Credit Systems are required by law to stop contacting you until they can provide evidence that you actually owe the debt they’re trying to collect. 5
- You’ll get more information about the debt: You should never pay a debt that you don’t recognize. Forcing Southwest Credit Systems to provide documentation will help you determine whether this is a legitimate debt that you actually need to pay. It’s an easy way of figuring out if the debt collector is a scam agency.
- You may successfully disown the debt: If Southwest Credit Systems can’t provide more information about the debt (which is frequently the case), then they have no choice but to delete it from your records.
Beware the statute of limitations
The verification materials that you receive may show that your debt has passed the statute of limitations. This is a legal limit that means the debt is too old for Southwest Credit Systems to sue you over, at which point it’s known as time-barred debt.
If this is the case, you can send Southwest Credit Systems a letter telling them to stop contacting you. Legally, they’ll have to abide by that.
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. The best approach is to 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 Southwest Credit Systems from your credit report
If your credit score is suffering as a result of Southwest Credit Systems debt, there are three ways to recover:
1. Dispute the debt with all three credit bureaus
If you think that the debt associated with Southwest Credit Systems on your credit report is illegitimate (e.g., if you paid it on time or it belongs to somebody else), dispute the item on your credit report. You can also dispute debts that are older than 7 years (measured from the date of your first missed payment)—by law, they’re 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 Southwest Credit Systems on your credit report.
To find out which credit bureaus you need to send the letter to, request your free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus (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 in question.
2. Negotiate with Southwest Credit Systems
Unfortunately, if the debt is legitimate and it’s less than 7 years old, removing Southwest Credit Systems 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 ignore paid-off collection accounts, which means paying off your collection will boost your credit score even if you can’t remove the item.
However, when you pay, there are two negotiation strategies you can try as a last-ditch attempt to remove Southwest Credit Systems from your credit report:
- Pay for delete: You might be able to convince Southwest Credit Systems 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 Southwest Credit Systems a goodwill letter asking them to empathize with your situation and remove the mark from your credit report as an act of kindness. Create your letter using our free goodwill letter template.
3. Wait 7 years for Southwest Credit Systems to fall off of your credit report
Unfortunately, most collection accounts will stay on your credit report for 7 years after your first missed payment. Even if you pay off your debt to Southwest Credit Systems, it will remain on your credit report.
Learn more about Southwest Credit Systems’s impact on your credit score:
- How many points will my credit score increase after I pay off collections?
- How to rebuild your credit after having a debt sent to collections
How to deal with Southwest Credit Systems harassment
Unless you tell them not to, Southwest Credit Systems will keep contacting you until you pay off or settle your debt. However, there are restrictions on how they can go about doing this.
Restrictions on Southwest Credit Systems
When attempting to collect payments from you, Southwest Credit Systems must adhere to the regulations specified in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This is a federal law that prevents debt collectors from engaging in harassment or predatory behavior, such as lying to you or calling you incessantly or at unreasonable hours.
Southwest Credit Systems representatives also need to follow the rules set out in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these laws so that you can take action against Southwest Credit Systems if they do something illegal.
Can I sue Southwest Credit Systems for harassment?
Yes, you can sue Southwest Credit Systems for harassment. If you can show that they’ve violated your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, then you can collect $1,000 in statutory damages for each violation as well as payment for any damages that you’ve sustained as a result of their violation. Southwest Credit Systems will also have to pay your attorney fees and court costs.
How to file a complaint against Southwest Credit Systems
If a debt collector violates your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or does something illegal, then you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or your state attorney general. From there, you’ll be able to find out whether you can also sue Southwest Credit Systems.
Another option is filing a complaint on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, but this might not have the outcome you’re hoping for. Bear in mind that the BBB is actually a private organization that has no affiliation with the US government. They’ll forward your complaint to Southwest Credit Systems, but there’s no guarantee that the agency will address it in a satisfactory manner. What’s more, if your dispute is sent to an arbitrator, then you may give up your right to take Southwest Credit Systems to court.
Should you pay Southwest Credit Systems?
You should only pay a collection agency like Southwest Credit Systems if you’re certain the debt is yours and you owe it. If you’re struggling financially and can’t afford to pay this debt collector, you can get help from a non-profit credit counselor.