What is a Bill and Account Collector?

Bill and account collectors, sometimes called collection agents, try to recover payment on overdue bills. They negotiate repayment plans with debtors and help them find solutions to make paying their overdue bills easier. Many bill and account collectors work in a call center for a third-party collection agency rather than the original creditor. Most work full time, and some have flexible schedules. Collectors must usually have a high school diploma and experience in a call center. A few months of on-the-job training is common.

Find your next career

Sokanu matches you to one of over 500 careers by analyzing your personality, interests, and needs in life. Take the free assessment now to see your top career recommendations!

What does a Bill and Account Collector do?

Bill and account collectors generally contact debtors by phone, although sometimes they do so by mail. They use computer systems to update contact information and record past collection attempts with a particular debtor. Keeping these records can help collectors with future negotiations. Bill and account collectors typically do the following:

  • Find consumers and businesses who have overdue bills
  • Track down consumers who have an out-of-date address by using the Internet, post office, credit bureaus, or neighbors, a process called “skip tracing”
  • Inform debtors that they have an overdue bill and try to negotiate a payment
  • Go over the terms of sale or contract with the debtor, when necessary
  • Learn the reasons for the overdue bills, which can help with the negotiations
  • Offer credit advice or refer a consumer to a debt counselor, when appropriate.

The main job of bill and account collectors is finding a solution that is acceptable to the debtor and maximizes payment to the creditor. Listening to the debtor and paying attention to his or her concerns can help the collector negotiate a solution. After the collector and debtor agree on a repayment plan, the collector continually checks to ensure that the debtor pays on time. If the debtor does not pay, the collector submits a statement to the creditor, who can take legal action. In extreme cases, this legal action may include taking back goods or disconnecting service.

Collectors must follow federal and local laws that govern debt collection. They usually have goals they are expected to meet. Typically, these include calls per hour and success rates.

What does it take to be a Bill and Account Collector?

Collectors must usually have a high school diploma and experience in a call center. A few months of on-the-job training is common. Some employers prefer applicants who have taken some college courses. Communication, accounting, and basic computer courses are examples of classes that are helpful for entering this occupation.

Collectors usually get 1-to-3 months of on-the-job training after being hired. Training includes learning the company’s policies and computer software and learning the laws for debt collection in their jurisdiction, as well as the any local debt collection regulations. If they do not have experience, they may also be trained in how to negotiate.

Some employers prefer applicants who have experience in call centers. At least six months to one year is common. However, some agencies want a collector to have several years of experience.

When trying to negotiate a repayment plan, collectors must pay attention to what debtors say. Learning the particular situation of the debtors and how they fell into debt can help collectors suggest solutions. Reconciling the differences between two parties (the debtor and the creditor) and offering a solution that is acceptable to both parties are the main aspects of a collector’s job. Collectors must be able to speak to debtors to explain their choices and ensure that they fully understand what is being said.

What is the workplace of a Bill and Account Collector like?

Many work in a call center for a third-party collection agency rather than the original creditor. Some work in-house for the original creditor, such as a credit-card company or a health care provider. The day-to-day activities of in-house collectors are generally the same as those of other collectors.

How much does a Bill and Account Collector earn?

The median annual wage of bill and account collectors was $31,310 in May 2010. The lowest 10% earned less than $21,320, and the top 10% earned more than $47,180. These wage data include money earned from commissions. Collectors earn more when their collection rate is high.

Learn more about being a Bill and Account Collector