Portfolio Recovery Associates: What It Is, And Why It Is On Your Credit Report

Written by Sarah Goldy-BrownUpdated: 4th Apr 2022
Share this article

Disclaimer: This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation (at no cost to you) when you click on links to those products. Read our Disclaimer Policy for more information.

In this Article: How to Remove Portfolio Recovery Associates from your credit report (step-by-step guidance).

Is Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC showing up on your credit report?

You aren’t alone.

Each year, this debt collection agency tries to recoup millions of dollars of debt from American consumers like you.

If you’re one of them, keep reading to learn who Portfolio Recovery Associates is, how they operate, and how to remove Portfolio Recovery Associates from your credit report.

Who is Portfolio Recovery Associates?

Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC (PRA, LLC) is one of the United States’ largest debt collection agencies. The company was founded in May of 1996 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, but it is currently located in Norfolk, Virginia.

Kevin Stevenson and Steven Fredrickson founded the company together, and Stevenson currently holds the title of CEO and President.

PRA purchases bulk debt—medical debt, overdue loans, past due utility bills, unpaid tuition, etc.—at a discount from banks and creditors. Then, PRA contacts the borrower to collect payment.

You should also know that Portfolio Recovery Associates doesn’t have the most reputable history as a debt collection agency.

In 2014, New York State’s Attorney General won a settlement against Portfolio Recovery Associates for improperly collecting debt from consumers in New York. This was one of several actions taken against PRA for improper practices in recent years.

Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?

When a company you’ve never heard of appears on your credit report, it’s natural to wonder if they’re real or a scam.

Portfolio Recovery Associates is a legitimate collection agency. However, that doesn’t mean the debt they’re collecting from you is 100% legit or that their practices are 100% proper.

Since PRA buys debt in bulk, mistakes can happen, and Portfolio Recovery Associates might not be able to prove that you owe anything.

Before making any payment to PRA, you must verify the alleged debt. If not, you could end up accidentally paying money you don’t owe.

How Portfolio Recovery Works

Portfolio Recovery is a debt collection agency that typically pays pennies on the dollar for bulk consumer debt. They turn a profit by going after you, the borrower, for repayment.

After purchasing your debt, PRA Group notifies you of the debt and tries to collect payment.

Portfolio Recovery Associates only makes money when people pay off their debt, so they are relentless. They will call you, send you letters, and possibly even sue you. You will also see one of the following names on your credit report:

  • PRA, LLC
  • Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC
  • Portfolio Associates
  • Portfolio RC
  • Portfolio Recovery PRA inc
  • Portfolio Recovery Services
  • Portfoliorecov
  • Portfolio Collection
  • PRApay
  • Portfolio Recov Assoc
  • Portfolio Recov PRA inc
  • Portfolio Recovery
    PRA Group, Inc.

If you choose to ignore them, dealing with Portfolio Recovery usually goes like this:

  1. PRA, or a company representing PRA, sends you a letter in the mail requesting that you contact them to pay off a debt in collections
  2. If you ignore the letter, PRA will serve a Summons and Complaint to start a lawsuit against you
  3. You have 20 days to respond or else a default judgment will be entered
  4. A default judgment gives PRA the right to garnish wages, access your bank accounts, or put a lien on your property

The situation outlined above doesn’t need to happen to you.

With a few simple steps, you can negotiate with PRA and avoid a lawsuit, learn whether the alleged debt is real, and remove the negative information from your credit score.

How to Deal with Portfolio Recovery Associates Debt Collections

Dealing with a collection agency isn’t as straightforward as you might think. There are deadlines to deal with, nuances to learn, and the possibility of legal action being taken against you. Stay smart when dealing with Portfolio Recovery Associates so that you walk away with minimal damage to your credit score.

Here are a few things to know:

Only Communicate via Mail

Since you’re here, you likely have already received a phone call or letter from PRA, LLC.

Moving forward, we recommend only communicating with Portfolio Recovery Associates via mail. If they call again, you can answer the call, but tell them you want all future communication to be done via mail. Making this request is your right thanks to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Communicating via mail might seem like a hassle, but it has several perks:

  • Stops potentially harassing and intrusive phone calls
  • Gives you more control over communication
  • Guarantees any deals you make are in writing and thus would hold up in court
  • Provides a paper trail, which is essential should the case go to court

*PRA has an email address and a live chat feature on their website, but these are not substitutes for mail communication.

Pay Attention to Deadlines

Dealing with debt isn’t fun, but you need to take care of it as soon as possible. When PRA contacts you, you have 30 days to request more information or take another action. Failure to respond promptly could mean giving up your rights to negotiate a lower payment, dispute the debt, or pay for deletion.

Read all communications carefully and keep track of dates in a calendar. Put together your responses as soon as possible.

Never Provide Your Bank Account Information

If it turns out that you do owe money, do not provide your bank account information. PRA might insist that you need to so that they can deduct what you owe, but that is not the case. You have the right to say no and to mail a check instead.

Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC Contact Info

Make sure you are sending all communications to the correct place:


Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC
120 Corporate Boulevard

Norfolk, Virginia 23502

Should I Pay Portfolio Recovery Associates?

PRA, LLC says you owe money, but should you really pay them?

Whether or not you should ultimately pay PRA depends entirely on your situation.

But, regardless of your situation, you should not make any payments until you validate the alleged debt and try to have it removed from your credit report.

Remember, PRA needs you to make money, so you have some negotiating power. And PRA buys debt in bulk, so it is possible there’s an error with their collection efforts.

After receiving notice of collections from PRA, your goals should be to:

  • Pay as little as possible and still have the debt settled
  • Have the negative mark removed from your credit score

How Can I Remove Portfolio Recovery Associates from My Credit Report?

Your credit report shows red flags like a late car payment or an unpaid bill. It also shows you information about who you owe money to. If your credit report indicates that you owe money to Portfolio Recovery Associates, it is because PRA purchased your debt from another creditor. It might be a recent debt or a debt from years ago.

Whatever the debt is, you do not want it affecting your credit score.

According to Experian, collections debt stays on your credit report for seven years.

The clock starts the day the debt first became delinquent or the day you first missed a payment. Since your credit score affects your ability to rent an apartment, secure a mortgage, lease a car, or do any other kind of borrowing, it is crucial to keep it as high as possible.

Removing negative information is one way to keep your credit score in good shape.

To remove Portfolio Recovery Associates from your credit report, follow these steps:

1. Request Validation that the Debt is Yours

After first contacting you, a debt collector only has five days to provide a debt validation notice.

The notice will outline how much you owe and the name of the creditor. You can also find this information by logging into the PRA website and selecting the PRApay option.

The debt validation notice will also inform you of some of your rights as a debtholder under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:

  • You have 30 days to dispute the debt in writing
  • If you dispute the debt, the collection agency sends verification to you
  • If you submit a written request within 30 days, the collection agency will send you the name and address of the original creditor

Remember, it is on the collector to prove that you own the debt.

Even if you remember owing the money, the amount might be incorrect. Another clerical error may have happened. Dispute the debt within 30 days and request verification. It’s your right as a consumer and is a safeguard for you too.

Do not dispute debt over the phone. Instead, dispute the debt by sending a debt validation request via certified mail with a return receipt. This leaves a paper trail and verifies the collector got your letter.

In your letter, you should request:

  • The amount of the alleged debt
  • The name and mailing address of the original creditor
  • Proof that you are responsible for the debt
  • Proof that the collection agency is licensed to collect debts in your state

Locate a sample dispute letter online, or work with an attorney or credit repair company to write one.

If they do not have sufficient proof…

Congratulations, without sufficient proof of the debt, Portfolio Recovery Associates cannot go after you for payment. Remove the debt from your credit report by disputing it directly with the credit bureau.

Send in a copy of your debt validation letter, the return receipt, and any other relevant paperwork to have it removed from your credit report.

Check-in after a few weeks to ensure it’s removed, and once it’s gone, you’re in the clear.

If they do have sufficient proof…

Don’t make a payment yet. You still have options to have the debt removed from your credit report. Keep reading.

2. Make a Payment in Exchange for Deletion

PRA needs you so that they can make money. They don’t necessarily care whether the late payment or owed debt shows up on your credit report. That’s why they often agree to remove the collection from your credit report in exchange for a prompt full or partial payment.

Follow these steps to make it happen:

Make the Request in Writing

Never negotiate a payment in exchange for deletion over the phone. You need a paper trail. Always send in your request via mail.

Then, if PRA fails to delete the collections after receiving payment, you have proof that they did not hold up their end of the agreement.

Remember, no matter how nice the representative is on the other end of the phone, getting their word is not enough.

Negotiate a Lower Payment

Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC purchased your debt at a significant discount, so they do not need you to pay in full to turn a profit. We recommend offering to pay 50% of what you owe and negotiating from there.

You might be surprised by what savings offer you can secure.

Mail a Check

Only once you reach an agreement in writing, should you mail a check. Again, do not give out your bank account information. Mail the check via certified mail with a return receipt to ensure it arrives.

Follow Up

Follow up within 30 days to see if the collection is off your credit report. If it is still there, send a letter outlining the agreement and demanding they fulfill it.

3. Hire A Credit Repair Company

You can deal with Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC on your own, but you do not have to. Credit repair companies help consumers like you fix your credit score. They work with you individually to dispute debt, check for errors in your credit report, and petition lenders or creditors to remove a paid or invalid debt from your credit.

If you want the support of a credit repair company, we recommendCredit Saint. They’re are the best credit repair company.

This company not only has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, but it also offers a 90-day money-back guarantee.

You can track progress online to see what they are doing to help fix your credit score. Getting started with Credit Saint is as simple as setting up a free phone evaluation.

Credit Saint, or another credit repair company you choose, can send dispute letters to Portfolio Recovery Associates, ensure you don’t miss any deadlines, and negotiate a settlement.

They can also check your credit report for other errors and make recommendations to boost your score.

>> More:Credit Saint Review

Bottom Line: Portfolio Recovery Associates

Just because PRA, LLC shows up on your credit reports, does not mean it has to stay there for the next 7 years.

By making a few smart decisions, you can settle your debt with Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC and repair your credit score in the process.

Sarah Goldy-Brown
Sarah Goldy-Brown

Sarah Goldy-Brown has six years of experience as a professional writer, specializing in personal finance and student loans. While paying off more than $50,000 of student debt, she found her passion for helping others learn how to take control of their finances and pay off debt. Sarah is a graduate of Messiah University and resides in the Harrisburg, PA area with her husband. Her areas of expertise are student loans, paying off debt, and financial management.