Bill and Account Collectors
Bill and account collectors attempt to collect payment on overdue bills. 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 consumers or businesses with delinquent accounts, usually over the telephone, but sometimes by letter. Once collectors find debtors, they inform them of the overdue accounts and solicit payment. If necessary, they review terms of sale or credit contracts. Good collectors use their listening skills to attempt to learn the cause of delinquencies. They generally have the authority to offer repayment plans or other assistance to make it easier for debtors to pay their bills. In many cases, they are able to find payment solutions that will allow the debtor to pay off their accounts. They may also offer simple advice or refer customers to debt counselors.
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. Workers spend most of their time on the phone tracking down and contacting people with debts. The work can be stressful, as many consumers are confrontational when pressed about their debts. Successful collectors must face regular rejection and still be ready to make the next call in a polite and positive voice. Fortunately, some consumers appreciate assistance in resolving their outstanding debts, and can be quite grateful. Bill and account collectors sometimes must work evenings and weekends. While some collectors work part-time, the majority work 40 hours per week. Flexible work schedules are common.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of bill and account collectors is projected to grow 14 percent between 2010 and 2020, as fast as the average for all occupations. The increasing efficiency of collectors is expected to slow employment growth for this occupation. New software and automated calling systems should increase productivity and allow collectors to handle more accounts. In addition, some collection jobs will likely be sent to other countries where wages are lower. Nevertheless, creditors will continue to hire collectors in the United States because workers in this country tend to have greater success in negotiating with debtors. Collectors in medical industries should see more job growth. As the cost of health care increases, the amount of medical debt that people incur is likely to rise as well. In addition, credit card companies are more commonly selling their debts to third-party agencies, likely also increasing job growth in the collections industry.
Career information courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.