A credit and collections agent handles the billing and collections for a company or organization. Credit and collections agents ensure that their company receives accurate payment in a timely fashion. They work in a wide range of industries, and along with collections, often perform general office duties such as faxing documents, typing invoices or answering phones.
Credit and collections agents normally use computer software to keep track of customer contact information, delinquent accounts, payment plans and late fees. If an account is past due, collection agents try to reach the consumer by phone, mail or email. Collection agents decide which accounts warrant immediate attention, as opposed to those that can be handled at another time. They may also determine late fees for delinquent accounts. In some instances, credit and collections agents will work with customers whose accounts are past due, offering smaller payments over a longer time.
Credit and collections agents must own strong math skills, a solid understanding of finances and how to use computer software used to assist with collections. While collections agents should possess a courteous and professional demeanor with customers, they should also remain assertive and confident. Along with those qualities, credit and collections agents should be organized, flexible, analytical and resilient when trying to resolve a debt.
Requirements to become a credit and collections agent usually vary by industry. Most need at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. Some companies will only offer jobs to collections agents with associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. Areas of study for collections agents usually include business, administration, math and perhaps economics and accounting. Also, credit and collections agents who work as managers typically have spent some time as members of the everyday staff prior to being promoted.
More than 411,000 workers were employed as collectors in May 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which projected that number to grow from 2008 to 2018. According to the BLS, jobs for collections agents will likely increase 9 percent from 2008 to 2018--or about as fast the growth rate for all other occupations during the same span.
Wages for collections agents differ by industry, duties and experience. According to the BLS, collections agents earned a median wage of $14.73 per hour in May 2008. Some earned as much as $18.12 per hour, the BLS reported.