The debt collector job description calls for an individual who is firm and persuasive enough to collect owed monies from consumers, businesses and others on behalf of an employer. He or she may work for a large corporation directly or for a third-party debt collection agency.
The debt collector is responsible for locating, contacting and even visiting consumers or other businesses for the purpose of collecting funds that are owed to his or her client or employer.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Debt Collector
- Finds debtors who have moved, changed telephone numbers or otherwise attempted to avoid the owed party.
- Updates debtor records when new information is made available or when the debtor makes a payment on his or her account.
- Contacts debtors via telephone, email, postal mail or even personal visits depending upon the employer.
- Listens carefully to debtors and attempts to work with their financial situations to come to an amicable repayment agreement.
- Negotiates payment plans between clients and debtors.
- Performs basic administrative duties such as recordkeeping, filing, data entry and composing letters.
- Prepares regular debtor statements for email or postal mail.
- Confirms the deaths of debtors by requesting death certificates or other information.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Articulates well and provides clear, concise information to debtors in regard to the status of their accounts.
- Understands information and ideas and can verbalize them effectively.
- Exhibits above-average interpersonal skills and reacts professionally to debtors who may be irate or abusive.
- Possesses outstanding reading and comprehension skills for the purposes of documenting accounts and understanding debtors’ situations.
- Shows time-management skills and the ability to work independently in order to meet production needs.
Education and Experience
While there is no formal education required to work as a debt collector outside of a high school diploma or GED, an Associate’s degree in finance, customer service or communication is preferred. Some debt collectors go on to earn Bachelor’s degrees in the same fields; this is typically necessary for promotions to senior-level positions which are among the highest-paid in the industry.
A debt collector will spend the majority of his or her time working in a climate-controlled office environment. Some travel may be necessary, particularly if he or she is called upon to visit a debtor at home or a place of business. There are few physical demands but emotional stress tends to run high since financial situations can become volatile. The debt collector will work with computers regularly, and the work hours are typically nine-to-five with weekends and holidays off in order to conform to debt collection laws.
The typically debt collector salary is commissioned, meaning that he or she only earns a paycheck when a debt is collected. These commissions are about $15 per hour on average, meaning that the average annual salary is about $32,000 per year. Debt collectors often receive bonuses for collecting an above-average amount of debt during a certain period, and individuals who earn such bonuses regularly represent the highest paid in the nation. They earn about $46,000 per year, on average.