Account Collector

How to become an Account or Bill Collector
Account and Bill Collector Job Duties
Skills and Qualities for Bill Collectors
Account and Bill Collector Salaries
Influential Bill Collectors
Leading Organizations in this field
Top Cities for Bill Collector Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become an Account Collector or Bill Collector.

Account and bill collectors, who are often referred, to just as collectors, monitor overdue accounts and collect payment on these accounts. Bill collectors can either work for the company owed money by the delinquent account holders or for a third party collection agency.

Account and bill collectors are generally required to have a high school diploma, at minimum, but applicants will find it much easier to get a job if they have completed some college. Employers usually prefer previous customer service experience, since that is a vital aspect of a collector's job description. On-the-job training is typically offered for bill and account collectors, with new employees generally being trained by supervisors or more experienced employees. This training includes how to deal with customers over the telephone, negotiation skills, company procedures, and legal matters regarding debt collection. In addition, account and bill collectors may need to learn certain computer programs or additional legal information.

What does an Account Collector do?

Account and bill collectors can be employed in many fields but tend to have similar job duties in all fields. Collectors first must find customers who have overdue accounts and inform them that their accounts are delinquent. This can be done either by mail or over the telephone, depending upon the company being represented and their preferences.

Although locating a customer may seem like a fairly straightforward task, it can often involve considerable detective work, as delinquent customers often do not wish to be found. Collectors can check with the post office to see if customers have left a forwarding address, or they may ask credit bureaus, telephone companies - even friends and neighbors - for any information on the missing customer.

Assuming that a collector finds the customer with the delinquent account, the collector's next step is to inform the customer that his or her account is delinquent and request payment. An account or bill collector may refresh the customer's memory of the original contract or credit agreement, and find out why the account is delinquent. In certain situations, an account collector may help the customer find ways of paying off their bills, but the end goal is simply to make sure the bill is paid.

Bill collectors often start by extracting a written or verbal promise from the customer to pay their delinquent account. If customers ask for an extension, it may be granted, depending on the collector and the situation. In the case that the customer continues to leave their account unpaid, the collector turns the account over to the legal department, begin the process of repossession, or initiate other consequences for the delinquent account holder.

Account Collectors usually work in offices or call centers, depending upon the collectors are in-house collectors, working for the creditors; or third party collectors, working for a collection agency contracted to work with the creditors. Bill collectors usually have a computer and advanced telephony equipment at their workspace. It is common for collectors to work during non-business hours such as evenings and weekends, since many account holders are easier to reach during these times.

What skills or qualities do I need to become an Account Collector or Bill Collector?

Collectors must be skilled in communication and customer service, as much of the job involves direct communication with customers. In addition, a bill collector needs to be able to handle a high-stress work environment, since many customers with unpaid accounts become defensive, hostile, or verbally abusive when confronted. Computer literacy is important, as is the ability to use advanced telecommunications systems, and strong written and verbal skills can greatly help an account collector.

How much does an Account Collector make?

Although account and bill collectors' salaries vary widely, the median hourly wage for collectors in 2006 was $13.97. The middle 50 percent of all collectors in the United States earned between $11.49 and $17.14 per hour. Depending upon their employers, account collectors may earn a commission on top of their hourly wage, based on the monetary amount recovered.

Who are some influential Account Collectors?

One influential professional in the field of collections is Pat Carroll, CEO of Nationwide Credit, Inc., a major collection agency. Carroll took over responsibilities from predecessor Anthony Marino in 2004, and was a major influence in the direction that NCI has taken in the last few years. Another important name is that of Sheldon Zucker, the president and CEO of Allied Bond & Collection Agency, Inc. Before this job title, Zucker had been vice-president and COO of the same agency.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

One leading organization in the field of account and bill collection is the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, a professional organization for collectors. This organization educates and supports collectors throughout the United States. The Federal Trace Commission (FTC) regulates debt collection, ensuring that debt collection is fair and aboveboard, adhering to certain standards. In addition to the FTC and Association of Credit and Collection Professionals some of the larger Collection Agencies include IC System and Nationwide Credit Inc.

Top Cities for Account and Bill Collector Jobs.

Phoenix Arizona is the current top city in the United States for account and bill collectors looking for work. Phoenix is closely followed by Houston and Dallas, both in Texas, and New York City. Account and bill collectors do not have to be located near the companies who they are representing, since their business is conducted completely by telephone and mail. In fact, some collecting jobs are being outsourced to countries that can provide services in a cheaper manner than those based in the United States.

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