Collections department employees attempt to collect payment on overdue bills. Some work for third-party collection agencies, while others—known as in-house collectors—work directly for the original creditors, such as mortgage companies, credit card companies and hospitals. Collections department employees must have good problem-solving and people skills.
Most collections department jobs require only a high school education, though some employers prefer to hire workers with some post-secondary training or with experience in jobs involving contact with the public. Prior collections department experience is generally not necessary. Employers usually provide on-the-job training for their collectors.
Collections department employees are responsible for locating consumers or businesses with delinquent accounts and notifying them of the delinquencies. They work with those consumers or businesses to arrange payment of past due amounts or, in some instances, the return of merchandise.
Collections department employees must be comfortable with technology. They use computers and computer systems to search for consumers or businesses, to enter and process data and to track scheduled payments.
Successful collections department employees are self-motivated. They have good investigatory skills and are detail-oriented. They also work well with people, which includes having good listening skills, problem-solving skills and an ability to persuade.
Because the collections industry is highly regulated, collections department employees must be aware of and comply with state and federal laws, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Most employers provide training on these laws.
The job outlook for collections department employees is strong. Collections department opportunities are expected to grow at a faster-than-average rate through 2016 because companies are becoming increasingly vested in collecting unpaid debts sooner.
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