Career Detail

Bill and Account Collector
Bill and account collectors, often called simply collectors, keep track of accounts that are overdue and attempt to collect payment on them.
The Job
The duties of bill and account collectors are similar across the many different organizations in which they work. First, collectors are called upon to locate and notify customers of delinquent accounts, usually over the telephone, but sometimes by letter. When customers move without leaving a forwarding address, collectors may check with the post office, telephone companies, credit bureaus, or former neighbors to obtain the new address. The attempt to find the new address is called "skip tracing." New computer systems assist in tracing by automatically tracking when customers change their address or contact information on any of their open accounts.
Work Environment
In-house bill and account collectors typically are employed in an office environment, and those who work for third-party collection agencies may work in a call-center environment.
College Majors
Most employers require collectors to have at a least a high school diploma and prefer some customer service experience. Employers usually provide on-the-job training to new employees.
Minimum Qualifications
Workers should have good communication and people skills because they need to speak to customers daily, some of whom may be in stressful financial situations. In addition, collectors should be computer literate, and experience with advanced telecommunications equipment is also useful.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Collectors most often advance by taking on more complex cases. Some might become team leaders or supervisors.
Quick Facts
  • Almost 1 in 4 collectors works for a collection agency; others work in banks, retail stores, government, physicians' offices, hospitals, and other institutions that lend money and extend credit.
  • Most jobs in this occupation require only a high school diploma, though many employers prefer workers with some postsecondary training.
  • Much faster than average employment growth is expected as companies focus more efforts on collecting unpaid debts.
Compensation and Outlook
Median hourly wages of bill and account collectors were $14.73 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.14 and $18.12. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.17, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $22.07. Most bill and account collectors earn commissions based on the amount of debt they recover.
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