Debt collector


Also known as:

  • Debt recovery officer
  • Mercantile agent

What they do

Debt collectors assist businesses and individuals to collect money they are owed by debtors from overdue accounts, unpaid loans or other debts. They contact the debtor by phone, mail or in person, advising them of the debt and arranging for payments to be made. When they are unable to collect payments they may suggest legal action be taken by their client, in which case the debt collector may prepare summonses and statements of claim for filing at court. In some cases these workers may be required to locate debtors who have changed addresses or are actively attempting to avoid the debt collector.

Specialisations include: Collection agent, Repossession agent

Working conditions

Debt collectors often work in offices or call centres, and may have to go to debtors’ homes or workplaces. In some cases they may also be required to appear in court. Debt collectors have a high level of contact with people who are upset, angry or stressed, and they must be able to maintain their own composure while attempting to resolve the debt to the satisfaction of both the debtor and the client. The hours of work are often irregular and may include working evenings and on weekends, so that debtors can be contacted at their homes. This work can involve a high level of travel, which can be locally based or throughout the country. Some debt collectors may also liaise with international agencies in cases where the debtor has either fled a country. Debt collectors can find work throughout all regions of Western Australia.

Tools and technologies

Debt collectors use standard office equipment such as telephones, computers and fax machines. They will also need a driver’s licence to travel to debtors' homes or workplaces. Debt collectors need to be familiar with all of the strict legislation governing their behaviour and powers in pursuing an unpaid debt.

How do I become one?

Education and training

It is possible to work as a debt collector without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in financial services, credit management, investigative services or a related area.

The Certificate III in Investigative Services, Certificate III in Financial Services and Certificate IV in Credit Management are available at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. The Certificate III in Financial Services is also offered at TAFE Colleges throughout Western Australia.

Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.

Required registration and licensing

To work as a debt collector in Western Australia, you will need to obtain a Debt Collectors Licence from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. You must be at least 21 years of age to apply for a licence.