Debt collectors, credit controllers or collection agents, are responsible for the recovery of bad debts or late payments. They may work with consumer or business clients, trace missing debtors or administer legal collection procedures. They initially make contact with the debtor by phone or letter to highlight the arrears, and negotiate a settlement through an agreed payment plan.
Credit controllers usually work in the credit control department of a business, chasing late payments from the company's suppliers and customers. Debt collectors or collection agents usually work with third party collection agencies, and may need to make field visits to debtors' homes to collect consumer debt from individuals.
Debt may be recovered through legal proceedings. During proceedings, a debt collector's role is to service court orders and follow a legal framework. They may work with solicitors and bailiffs, where appropriate.
Debt collectors often work shifts and weekends to contact debtors who are working during the day. Part-time work is common.
Much of the work is based in offices or call centres, contacting people by phone or mail. Field collectors usually work from home, visiting customers at their home or business premises. A driving licence is needed for field collection work.
To be a debt collector, you should:
Though there are no set requirement to enter this profession good GCSE's can be advantageous. particularly in maths.
You may be required to take a course in bookkeeping and experience working in an office or within customer service can be useful particularly as you will be dealing with the public.
It is possible to get this job through an apprenticeship.
There are approximately 20,000 people employed in debt collection, and there are prospects for promotion into a supervisory or management post. Some move into credit management work on a broader scale.
Many debt collectors, particularly field collectors, are self-employed or work freelance. Some debt collection managers may develop their own debt collection businesses. See the CSA website for information on how to set up a debt collection agency.
Debt collectors may move into sales, credit control and bailiff work. Contact the Financial Services Skills Council for information about careers within the financial sector.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a debt collector that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
Financial Services Skills Council (FSSC)
51 Gresham Street
Tel: 020 7216 7366
Credit Services Association
2nd Floor East
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: 0191 286 5656
Institute of Credit Management
The Water Mill
Tel: 01780 722900