Career and Job Search Guide

Bill Collectors and Collection Agents

Bill and account collectors, commonly known as collectors, monitor delinquent accounts and make collections. Collectors work for collection agencies not affiliated with the creditors, or in house collectors work for companies which extended the credit.

All collectors, regardless of where they work, share similar job responsibilities. The first task of a collector is to inform customers their account is past due. If a customer cannot be found, collectors begin skip tracing, a process where they contact credit agencies, previous neighbors, the post office, and phone companies to obtain the customer's current address. However, new technology aids collectors by keeping records of customers' address changes.

After customers are located, collectors notify them of what they owe and attempt to collect payment. Sometimes collectors must review with the customer the contract terms of the credit agreement. Sometimes collectors ask customers why their account is past due and provide them with strategies to pay their debts, but their main responsibility is to convince customers to resume debt payments.

When a customer consents to pay a debt, collectors make record of it and later follow up with them. Some collectors have the ability to extend payment deadlines. If the agreed payment is not made, collectors notify the creditor. Collectors sometimes coordinate property repossession and hire lawyers to sue those refusing or unable to make debt payments. Collectors also have administrative duties such as closing the accounts of people that have died.

To monitor accounts, collectors utilize computer technology and automated telephone systems which automatically dial phone numbers entered into the system. This way, collectors do not have to waste time making calls to unanswered or busy phones. Most collectors wear headsets or use standard phones.

Work environment. Collectors usually work in offices or call centers. Collectors spend most of their days on the phone speaking with people carrying outstanding debts, or people with information about unknown addresses. Being a debt collector is stressful since the people they call are sometimes uncooperative or rude, and they are often required to meet debt recovery quotas. However, many people are cooperative and thankful for the help provided them to settle their debts.

Debt collectors frequently work nights and weekends since people are usually home during these times. Most collectors work 40 hour weeks, but many enjoy flexible, part time schedules.