Will I be able to do that since I've already been paying monthly on it for a year or so?
Odds are... no.
Collection companies usually do not report directly to the credit bureaus though. Collection agencies will report back to the original creditor that the account has been PIF'ed or SIF'ed and in turn, the original creditor will then report back to the credit bureaus.
If there is a judgment on your file, then you can get the SOJ for the account of course.
This completely depends on the agency and the bill. If the agency is contracted to collect on behalf of a company AFTER said company's in-house collections department has pursued the issue, then more often than not what Homerboy says is true.
HOWEVER... if the debt is SOLD by the original creditor to a CA, the CA is well within their right to report the collection under their own name (meaning the debt can show up twice on your report, one as a charge off by the OC and one as a collection with the current CA).
Of course, if the original creditor doesn't bother to do in-house collections at all, they may contract the debt over to a CA for collections, in which the CA can (and likely will) report it to the CRAs.
There is absolutely no hard and fast rule as to who or how the debt gets reported to the CRAs. This is why it is imperative that YOU monitor your credit report with due diligence.
How does canceling a credit card effect your credit, long term? Say one that you had for a year and then starts charging you an annual fee and you never use the card... ?
Amount of credit line, credit utilization, length of credit history and number of active accounts all factor into your credit score. If you cancel a card, your credit line goes down (less available balance), your credit utilization may (generally) go up (less available credit means mathematically any debt you currently have proportionally goes up in terms of percentage of available credit), and it shortens your credit history on that particular line.