How Old Is Too Old When It Comes to Collecting Debt?

When it comes to collecting owed debts, it can really be a race against the clock. Once the statute of limitations is met, collecting debts is virtually impossible. As such, proactivity is key! Here is our advice for ensuring you collect owed money before it is too late.

Step one of ensuring you can successfully collect a debt is to check your state’s statute of limitations for doing so. For most U.S. states, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of service. Therefore, you should send accounts that are within two years from the date of service to collections. This will allow you to use that final year to put full focus on recovering the funds.

For best results, you will want to send the account to collections between 90 and 120 days (or between 120 and 180 days for healthcare accounts). In our experience, this is the window that is most likely to yield a positive outcome.

ACA International (formerly American Collectors Association) collects data relating to the collections industry regularly. The graphic below was created using information from the ACA. It’s quite interesting how steeply the likeliness of being able to collect funds declines with the age of overdue accounts:

When an account is 120 days old, you still have nearly a 1/3 chance of recovering the debt if it is pursued right away. Those percentages drop off rather quickly, however. When an account is over a year old, your efforts are much less likely to prove worthwhile. After 35 months, the debt collection endeavor will likely be futile altogether, as it will be nearly impossible to recover a meaningful percentage of the owed debt.


Collecting Debt Made Easy and Respectful with Alacrity Collections

Alacrity Collections is proud to be a leader in debt collections since 1982. Chasing overdue invoices is not an effective use of your time. Let our team help so you can work on running and growing your company. We achieve great results that are over twice the national average and treat all of our customers with dignity and respect. We work tirelessly to protect your brand and improve your net returns. To learn more about our services and get in touch, please call us at 1-800-752-9663 or email us at

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