I read this thread because I thought it actually pertained to me and was not going to be sarcastic. If someone can actually give me help on this matter, I'd appreciate it. Let's get some preliminaries out of the way first. I understand the net-zero (and possibly negative) effect paying a CA will have on my credit score. Nevertheless, I have some very specific reasons for wanting to pay them. I am applying to become a member of the bar. The Character & Fitness Application asks if you have any unpaid debts of larger than $300, overdue by more than 6 months. For the first time in a few years, because of this inquiry, I looked at my credit score, and saw 3 collection accounts. They are for old phone bills I had in college--not past the SOL, but still old. No one has tried to collect on these since I moved away from my undergrad, which is why I forgot about them and didn't pay them. Now, they likely don't reflect too poorly on my fitness to practice law, but I'd rather not explain them and just pay them off in full. It's only a couple hundred bucks, and I'll make that back on my first paycheck, to which I would not be entitled if I can't sit for the bar exam. For those of you who don't know about character & fitness applications, they are rather exhaustive inquiries into your past dealings (criminal, driving, landlord-tenant, employment, debtor-creditor, etc.) and bad debts can stop you from practicing because lawyers have to handle client money all the time and they want you to be responsible with that money. Again, these aren't the type of debts that would probably prevent me from becoming licensed, but I'd rather not take the chance with the strict legal ethics rules. (Insert snyde comment about "legal ethics" here.) However, I am concerned about some of the underhanded tactics collection agencies might take if I am to send them personal information. People here seem to be convinced they'll forge my signature, empty my bank account, and create new debts in my name. Further, the whole reason I'm donig this is so the bar can see I paid my debts, and I'm concerned about them immediately reporting it (especially since it appears that one of the debts was resold). So, I'd like to be able to pay in full 1) without any of the dirty stuff happening, and 2) an immediate mark of "Paid" on my credit report. So, to recap. Paid accounts will negatively impact my credit score. Collection agencies are not the most ethical places on earth. I understand both of these truths, and nevertheless have a very good reason for wanting to pay a rather small debt in full immediately. If anyone can give me some advice about this matter, I'd appreciate it. If not, I'm sorry for posting in the wrong place.