Bill and Account Collectors

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Also known as:
Accounts Collector, Bill Collector, Billing Representative, Collection Agent, Collections Clerk, Collections Representative, Debt Collector, Installment Agent, Installment Loan Collector, Insurance Collector

See all Finance Careers.

ABOUT BILL AND ACCOUNT COLLECTOR CAREERS
Video transcript

Bill and account collectors contact customers with overdue bills. Collectors call customers, inform them of the amount due, and ask for payment. If the customer disputes the amount or the transaction, the collector investigates the matter.

When customers move without leaving a forwarding address, collectors check with the post office, phone companies and find computerized databases to find a new address and contact the customer. In extreme cases, a collector may have to re-possess the goods sold, cancel service or refer the account to an attorney.

Some collectors work for independent agencies that specialize in collections, while others work in-house for the retail store or bank that issued the credit. Most collectors work a 40-hour week, which may include nights and weekends. A high school diploma is sufficient to qualify for most collection positions. Skills are learned on the job, usually from experienced collectors.

Collection work can be emotionally draining, especially when it involves listening to people's money problems. Collectors must be pleasant and tactful, yet firm and persuasive enough to get the customer to pay the overdue account.

SNAPSHOT
Locate and notify customers of delinquent accounts by mail, telephone, or personal visit to solicit payment. Duties include receiving payment and posting amount to customer's account, preparing statements to credit department if customer fails to respond, initiating repossession proceedings or service disconnection, and keeping records of collection and status of accounts.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
HIGH
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Trace delinquent customers to new addresses by inquiring at post offices, telephone companies, credit bureaus, or through the questioning of neighbors.

Sort and file correspondence and perform miscellaneous clerical duties, such as answering correspondence and writing reports.

Answer customer questions regarding problems with their accounts.

Perform various administrative functions for assigned accounts, such as recording address changes and purging the records of deceased customers.

Arrange for debt repayment or establish repayment schedules, based on customers' financial situations.

Locate and notify customers of delinquent accounts by mail, telephone, or personal visits to solicit payment.

Record information about financial status of customers and status of collection efforts.

Receive payments and post amounts paid to customer accounts.

Confer with customers by telephone or in person to determine reasons for overdue payments and to review the terms of sales, service, or credit contracts.

Locate and monitor overdue accounts, using computers and a variety of automated systems.

Advise customers of necessary actions and strategies for debt repayment.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Performing Administrative Activities Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Economics and Accounting Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
TOP SKILLS
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Persuasion Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.