Unfortunately, debts do not age like fine wine. The older they get, the harder they are to collect. There are countless studies that prove the more recent a debt is, the more likely that it will be collected. Individuals feel more obligated to pay debts that are more new than old debts, to which they will feel less of a connection — and obligation.

Even a timeframe as short as 90 days can lower the likely collection rate by 20%, from 94% for debts that are still current, to 74% for debts that are 90 days past due, according to data compiled by the Commercial Law League of America.

Creditors may feel reluctant to place accounts with a collection agency too soon, perhaps worried about upsetting a customer. But the sooner an account is placed is a collection agency, the sooner it can get resolved.

As soon as a debt is charged off, the statute of limitations clock begins to run, and while it can run for years before the clock expires, that clock can not be extended. The statute of limitations is the timeframe under which an individual can be sued for an unpaid debt and varies from state to state. Consumer debt, for example, has a four year statute of limitations in California.

The longer that you wait to try and collect on a debt increases the likelihood that the individual is going to forget about the debt. Forgetting about the debt increases the likelihood that the consumer will complain about an attempt to collect on a debt because he or she does not remember it or ignore attempts to collect it.

Like the cliche says, time is money. The longer a creditor waits, more variables may be introduced into the equation which increases the likelihood that the debt will not be collected. The individual could move or file for bankruptcy protection. An individual’s financial situation could worsen, which is all the more likely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Creditors themselves can become their own worst enemies the longer they wait to collect. Records can be misplaced and decisions within a department can change priorities, which are more reasons why not to delay attempting to collect on a debt.

When you add up all the reasons why delaying a debt is a bad idea for creditors, it is obvious that time is not on anyone’s side and the sooner that a debt is collected, the better it is for everyone.