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Job Photographs

  • A man, wearing a suit and tie, is sitting at a desk.  He is using a telephone, and looking at something in a book.

    Debt collectors can work for agencies, mail order companies, or in the credit department of large organisations. Some debt collectors are self-employed.

  • A man, wearing a suit and tie, is sitting at a desk.  He is writing on a paper document.

    Getting the paperwork right is vital - it could lead to expensive legal bills if the debt collector takes the wrong steps.

  • A man is standing in a street, next to a car.  Another man is also standing near the car.  This man is holding some documents.

    Sometimes, property will have to be re-possessed to pay off a debt - here, the debt collector is taking the car.

  • A man is standing outside the front door of a house.  He is talking to another man, who has opened the front door.  The man who has opened the door is looking at a piece of paper.

    Most of the time, the debt collector will try to sort out a problem by writing to a person or telephoning them. But sometimes they may have to visit a person at home or at their business.

  • Debt Collector

  • Debt Collector

Debt Collector

Introduction

Debt collectors are employed by individuals or companies who are owed money. They make contact with debtors by letter or telephone, or visit a person at home. They offer advice and suggest ways of repaying what is owed. As a last resort, they sometimes have to take people to court to get the money.

Also known as

  • Bill and Account Collector

Video: - Simon: Debt Collector

Work Activities

As a Debt Collector, you are employed by debt collection agencies or the credit departments of organisations to recover money that is owed.

Consumer debt collection involves collecting money from members of the public who have not paid debts such as public utility bills or credit card bills.

In the case of personal debt, you contact the debtor (the person who owes the money) in writing or by telephone to ask for the debt to be settled. At this stage, you listen to the reasons for non-payment and offer advice based on the debtor's circumstances.

For example, alternative methods of payment might be suggested. You always try to reach a fair and practical settlement with the debtor that is also acceptable to the creditor (the person or company that the money is owed to). You keep careful records of what has been agreed, often using a database.

A Field Debt Collector visits the debtor's home if payment is not received. You try to negotiate an acceptable repayment plan. Only as a last resort does a Debt Collector start legal proceedings. At this stage, a Bailiff might be employed by a creditor to take away a debtor's goods or assets.

In commercial debt collection, large amounts of money can be owed. You contact the company by letter or telephone. If there is no response, you threaten legal action and if the company still doesn't pay, legal proceedings start.

Debt Collectors can specialise in international work. Foreign debt collection companies and legal professionals might be hired to help with this.

Other Debt Collectors specialise as tracing agents looking for debtors who have vanished. You might also serve High Court writs.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Debt Collector, you'll need to be:

  • patient but assertive
  • calm, tactful, discreet and understanding in relatively distressing situations
  • a good judge of character
  • able to keep accurate records

Field Debt Collectors usually need a full driving licence.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £16,000 - £16,500
  • With experience: £17,500 - £19,500
  • Senior Debt Collectors earn £20,500 - £22,000

Hours of work

Debt Collectors could work office hours, or shifts between 8 am and 8 pm, plus some Saturday mornings. Those who work in the field might need to work evenings and weekends.

Where could I work?

Employers are debt collecting agencies and the credit departments of large organisations.

Opportunities for Debt Collectors occur in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Self-employment

Some experienced Debt Collectors become self-employed.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local newspapers, on the Institute of Credit Management and employers' websites, on internet job boards, on Find a Job and at Jobcentre Plus.

Vacancies are also advertised on job boards, such as jobsincredit.com.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

You can enter this career by applying directly for vacancies. Some entrants have developed skills by working in credit control or financial advice.

Training

If you would like some training, the Credit Services Association (CSA) offers the certificate for the debt collection industry. The units you could be studying include:

  • the key principles of the debt collection industry
  • the variances of debt within the debt collection industry
  • the different business activities within the debt collection industry
  • the diverse roles within the debt collection industry
  • the different repayment solutions that can be offered to recover an outstanding debt

Check the website for dates and availability.

Other courses could be available in your area.

Work Experience

Some entrants have developed skills by working in credit control, accounting technician work or financial advice. Employers expect applicants to be able to deal with the public.

Progression

Debt Collectors can progress to Team Leader, Supervisor and Manager posts. Some might become self-employed or start their own agency.

Qualifications

Some entrants have academic or work-related qualifications, such as GCSEs, A levels or a vocational level 2 or level 3 qualifications.

Employers usually expect applicants to have a reasonable level of literacy and numeracy.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

Some entrants have developed skills by working in credit control, accounting technician work or financial advice. Employers expect applicants to be able to deal with the public.

Distance learning

The Institute of Credit Management (ICM) offers the Certificate and Diploma in Debt Collection, both at levels 2 and 3, by distance learning.

Statistics

  • 14% of people in occupations such as debt collector are self-employed.
  • 30% work part-time.
  • 11% have flexible hours.

Further Information

Professional institutesProfessional institutes have the following roles:

  • To support their members.
  • To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.

For more information on the institute(s) relevant to this career, check out the contacts below.

Recruit.co.uk

Publisher: Financial Skills Partnership (FSP)

Address: 51 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HQ

Tel: 0845 2573772

Email: directions@financialskillspartnership.org.uk

Website: www.directions.org.uk/careers

Financial Skills Partnership (FSP)

Skills for the financial, finance and accountancy sectors

Address: 51 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HQ

Tel: 0845 2573772

Email: info@financialskillspartnership.org.uk

Website: www.financialskillspartnership.org.uk

Jobs in Credit

Publisher: Incisive Media

Website: www.jobsincredit.com/careers

Institute of Credit Management (ICM)

Address: The Water Mill, Station Road, South Luffenham, Leics LE15 8NB

Tel: 01780 722900

Email: info@icm.org.uk

Website: www.icm.org.uk

Credit Services Association (CSA)

Address: 2 Esh Plaza, Sir Bobby Robson Way, Great Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE13 9BA

Tel: 0191 2170775

Email: info@csa-uk.com

Website: www.csa-uk.com

People Exchange Cymru (PEC)

Public sector recruitment portal for Wales

Email: peopleexchangecymru@gov.wales

Website: www.peopleexchangecymru.org.uk/home

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