What does a debt collector do?
Debt collectors are responsible to locate and contact customers of overdue accounts. They usually initiate contact by letter, telephone, or sometimes email. They often review credit contracts and sales and service terms with the customer in explaining their delinquent account. They also try to understand why there is a delay or stop in payments. Some debt collectors provide advice to customers on how to resolve their debts. Once a customer agrees to payment terms, debt collectors record the agreement and follow up to verify payment was made. If customers refuse to pay debt collectors prepare reports and initiate disconnection of service, repossession proceedings, and legal action. Debt collectors check with telephone companies, the post office, credit bureaus, and even former neighbors to find customers who move without leaving a forwarding address. Some debt collectors work directly for many different companies such as banks, department stores, and hospitals. Others work for third-party collection agencies.
What kind of training does a debt collector need?
Debt collectors need at least a high school diploma. Many employers prefer applicants with some college training and customer service experience. Most employers provide on the job training to new debt collectors. Some provide classroom instruction on many topics such as computer software, negotiation skills, and telephone techniques. Some debt collectors earn certification from a variety of organization such as the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators. Some states require debt collectors to be licensed.
What are the prospects for a career as a debt collector?
Employment of debt collectors is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 23% from 2006 to 2016 (1). A greater emphasis on collecting unpaid debts and an increasing amount of companies lending money will drive job growth.
Job prospects should be favorable especially for debt collectors with extensive experience. There will be many job openings from the need to replace debt collectors that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do debt collectors make?
As of November 2009, debt collectors with less than 1 year experience earn average hourly rates between $9.96 and $12.21. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average hourly rates between $10.64 and $14.12 (2).
A career as a debt collector is an excellent choice for people with an interest in resolving outstanding debt for a variety of companies and organizations. Debt collectors must have excellent oral communication and interpersonal skills because they deal with a variety of customers on a daily basis. Good judgment, patience, motivation, and assertiveness are essential characteristics. Debt collectors must be able to handle stressful financial situations and be able to make quick decisions.