Debt collectors try to recover payment on overdue bills or debts, and negotiate repayment plans and solutions with debtors.
What does a Debt Collector do?
Debt collectors, sometimes called bill collectors or account collectors, try to recover payment on overdue bills or debts. They negotiate repayment plans with debtors and help them find solutions to make paying their overdue bills easier.
- arrange for debt repayment or establish repayment schedules, based on customers' financial situations
- find and alert customers of overdue accounts by mail, telephone, or personal visits to seek payment
- advise customers of necessary actions and strategies for debt repayment
- urge customers to pay sums due on credit accounts, or to return merchandise
- consult with customers to understand their reasons for overdue payments and revise the terms of contracts or agreements
- locate and monitor overdue accounts, using automated systems and software.
Key skills and interests
To become a debt collector, you would need:
- good negotiation skills
- calmness in stressful situations
- good research skills
- patience and persistence
- the ability to abide by strict regulations
- good computer and internet skills.
Working hours and conditions
Most debt collectors work full time, and some have flexible schedules. They may be required to work in the evenings or weekends, and to travel to meet clients or debtors.
Many debt collectors work in a call centre for a third-party collection agency rather than the original creditor. A number are self-employed.
How to become an Debt Collector?
Entry Level Education
To become a debt collector you usually have to complete a VET qualification in mercantile agents or financial services.
You can also become a debt collector through a traineeship in mercantile agents or credit management. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require junior secondary school certificate or equivalent.
The debt collection industry is jointly regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) at the national level, and by licensing authorities at the state level. All debt collectors must have an operator licence issued by the relevant State Police Force. To gain this licence you must be over 18 years of age.
Employment of debt collectors is projected to grow slightly faster than the average for all occupations.
Fast job growth is expected for collectors in medical industries. As the cost of healthcare increases, the amount of medical debt that people incur is likely to rise as well.
In addition, credit card companies are more commonly selling their debts to third-party agencies, likely also increasing job growth in the collections industry.
The increasing efficiency of collectors, as a result of new software and automated calling systems, may slow growth as it should increase productivity and allow collectors to handle more accounts.