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Entering the industry as a Collector

Many enter the collections area from a previous career in financial credit management, however, there is no one ideal background to guarantee success as a collector. You might come from a career in accounting, administration, finance, engineering, human resources or sales.

The work of a collector involves making demands for the payment of overdue debts. Demands can be made in writing (letters, emails or sms messages) or verbally by telephone or personal attendance upon the debtor.

Collectors are required to enter into dialogue with individual and corporate debtors in order to achieve resolution of the delinquent account either by full or part recovery or by establishing the debtor does not have either the means to pay the account or the obligation to pay the account.

Principally collectors work in modern offices with sophisticated collection software. Some larger offices use predictive telephone dialling software so that the software dials the next debtor in a queue of accounts to be actioned ready for the next available collector to speak to.

Recovery of debts can ultimately require litigation and so some collectors are involved in assisting and/or instructing solicitors in the preparation of summonses or statements of claim for filing at court and then service by a process server.

Collectors are required to strictly comply with various legislation, including the particular state or territory's civil proceedings legislation, the National Credit Code, the ASIC/ACCC Debt Collection Guideline which reflects obligations under the Australian Consumer Law introduced in 2011, the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009, and privacy laws and principles.

Typically, a competent and successful collector will possess:

  • Maturity, honesty, integrity and a fine sense of ethics;
  • Good people skills;
  • A patient and pleasant disposition;
  • Strong communication skills;
  • Good keyboarding skills;
  • An ability to focus on desired outcomes; and
  • A consistent work methodology.

A common question is whether a collector requires an Australian Credit Licence issued pursuant to the National Consumer Credit Protection Act, 2009 - a permanent exemption for collectors from that licensing was issued by a regulatory change in June 2010, whereas entities engaged in debt purchasing must hold an Australian Credit Licence.

Need more information? Select your State/Territory from this list.

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