It’s a known fact that it can be hard to collect on debtors. The more you wait, the less likely you are to receive payment. For businesses that struggle with delinquent account holders, a collection agency service can help you a lot. You don’t have to waste your time and money going after delinquent debtors. The agencies can do this for you – for a small price, of course.
As these companies differ in types and strategies, it would be best to learn more about the best collection agency services available.
How to Select the Best Collection Agency Services
Collection agency services have different styles and methodologies when it comes to debt payment. As such, you should only choose one after weighing these important factors:
Not all collection agencies are the same. Some specialize according to business type, i.e. small-medium enterprises vs. bigger companies. Some work according to a local region or area, while some have a bigger national reach. While a local operator is good, you may need a national one if you have clients all around the country.
Industry-wise, there are collection companies that focus on certain areas, such as insurance, credit cards, healthcare, auto loans, and mortgage. It’s best to work with an agency that has experience in your industry, as it’s usually well-versed with rulings and whatnot.
If your home, car, and business have insurance, then you apply the same thinking with a collection agency. Reputable companies usually have errors and omissions liability insurance, which covers issues such as harassment or improper conduct. Not only is it good for the collection agency, but this will help protect your business as well.
In exchange for its services, a collection agency will levy certain fees:
a. Contingency fees
This is a form of tiered pricing that gets from your account. This is usually a percentage of the collected debt, though it can be negotiated for significant debt amounts. Since this is based on the amount and the age of the account, figures could range from 20% to 50%.
b. Fixed fees
This is an upfront fee you pay to the agency. In return, you end up collecting 100% of the amount that the agency has acquired. This rate structure is rare and is usually applicable to debts less than 90 days old.
4. Personnel Training
Collecting debt is not an easy task. You’d want somebody who is an experienced negotiator. As such, you need to hire an agency that conducts extensive personnel training. After all, this is not something one learns from high school or college. Make sure to inquire about how often they conduct employee education. Look for personnel who are trained in collection disputes, writing demand letters, first-party consumer collections, FDCPA rulings, skip tracing, asset location, and collection strategies, to name a few.
While nothing beats the personal touch, this process can be hastened with the help of certain technologies. As such, you could benefit a lot from agencies that make use of these programs:
a. Skip-tracing services
This allows the agency to locate clients who are hard to find. This can help track people who have moved to other areas – or those who left without their forwarding address. This starts with extensive data collection, and as such would include the person’s credit reports, public records, loan applications, criminal background, utility bills, and courthouse appearances.
b. Algorithm-based programs
These help design strategies that work well with the debtor. The collector works on a profile that understands the individual – and methods that help induce better payments. Correspondence is usually done through email.
c. Online access
Collecting debt should be done right away. With the help of an online access program, you can submit the profile of delinquent account-holders to the agency right away. This also allows you to monitor the pending accounts – and communicate with the collectors as needed.
You’d want an agency that can do its job well. As such, you must go to a company with a good reputation. You can do your research by exploring the following:
If you know lawyers, accountants, or businesses similar to yours, then you could ask them for agency referrals. Even if they give you one, it’s still your responsibility to learn more about the company’s services.
Look up the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals listing to see if the agency is a member. If it is, then it means it adheres to the ethical standards set forth by the organization.
This is one of the best places to learn about a company’s reputation. Sometimes, it shows its actions toward some concerns. While it’s normal to have a few complaints, a collection of bad reviews should be enough to alarm you.
d. State License or Bond
States can require each – or both – for collection agency services.
e. Personal Visit
Nothing beats a personal touch. If you have a lot of questions or concerns, you might as well visit the collection agency office. Here, you can ask about their statistics, as well as the techniques they employ for collecting debts.
7. Other Services
More than just collecting debt, such agencies provide related services as well. If you need help with pre-collections, billing, credit reporting, or account consulting, you can save more with a company that performs the aforementioned tasks.
Summit Account Resolution is a collection agency that was established in 1996. It has a nationwide reach and boasts of recovery rates that are better than the industry average. It takes pride in doing things differently, as it follows an approach called PHD (preserve human dignity). This provides the company with an air of professionalism and integrity even with the tensions of the collection process.
Manned by trained collection professionals, the company offers several types of services:
- Medical collections
- Dental collections
- Commercial collections for businesses
- Consumer collections for customers
- Employee reimbursement for overpaid salaries, continuing education, travel expenses, uniform fees, commission recalls, relocation expenses, and other unauthorized expenses
- Pre-collection services, such as patient billing or follow-ups
Summit AR also offers specialized services in:
- Residential and apartment collections
- Commercial tenant collections
- Self-storage collections
- Veterinary collections
- Wireless chargeback collections
Apart from these, the company also offers additional services, such as:
- Comprehensive skip tracing to locate debtors
- Full-service litigation with the help of a qualified lawyer
- Credit bureau reporting to 3 agencies
- Accounts receivable consulting for tips on improving cash flow
The company’s collection rates range from 7.5% to 50%.
- The company is best for small businesses, as it approaches debt collection with compassion and sensitivity.
- It has a dedicated skip-tracing department supervised by a licensed private investigator.
- It provides detailed monthly reports for your scrutiny.
- The bureau reporting service is free of charge.
- Summit is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau.
- Due to some restrictions, Summary AR has a hard time collecting payments in the areas of Nevada, Hawaii, North Carolina, New Mexico, and New York City.
- It only limits services to accounts that have been delinquent for less than 2 years.
Prestige Services Inc. is an accredited agency with over 17 years of credit collection experience. It has a nationwide scope, with an international reach in Canada and Mexico as well. While it specializes in B2B collections, it performs commercial collections too.
Prestige offers special services such as skip-tracing, which enables it to look up social media accounts, as well as 200 million business and residential listings. This method also includes searches for judgments, assets, lawsuits, corporate records, even UCC filings.
It also has an attorney forwarding service, which allows the claim to be processed by a lawyer in the debtor’s area. Following legal action, the company can enforce post-judgment debt collection via bank garnishments, among several other methods.
Prestige’s commercial collection rate is 25% for debts ranging from $200 to $3,000. It decreases to 22% for accounts ranging from $3,001 to $20,000. For amounts beyond this, the company offers a negotiable rate.
Should the account need to be forwarded to a lawyer, the rate will be at 35% to 40%.
As for merchandise return, the rate is half the normal (for example, 12.5% instead of the normal 25%).
- Prestige has one of the highest collection rates in the market.
- The company has an online access portal that allows you to access your claims 24/7.
- Prestige Services is accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
- You can use its final notice forms for free.
- It doesn’t collect a fee should the recovery service fail.
- It offers a 10-day free demand service, where it does not collect payment for accounts paid within 10 days of placement.
- The minimum collection amount for the service is $200.
- As it specializes in B2B collection, it may not be suitable for B2C accounts.
The Rozlin Financial Group Inc. is a licensed and bonded collection agency based in Illinois. It is an active member of ACA International and is compliant with both HIPAA and HITECH. More importantly, it’s accredited by the Better Business Bureau, for which it has received an A+ rating.
As the best agency for consumer collections, the company makes debt payment possible with the help of its experienced collectors. It reports accounts to credit bureaus while utilizing 4 skip-tracing databases to find debtors who seem to have gone off the face of the planet.
Apart from the complete monitoring of the financial status, the company performs multiple negotiations to optimize debt recovery. Backed by modern technology and access to litigation, the company succeeds in collecting more than its competitors.
Rozlin offers its collection services to any of these industries:
- Healthcare (Medical, Dental, Hospital, Optometrist, etc.)
- Credit card and bank loans
- Schools and other educational agencies
- Properties and multi-tenant lands
- Leases and retail
- Professional and membership services
- Homeowners association
While the charge rate is not illustrated clearly on the website, the company deems this to be a “small percentage fee”.
- It offers the best services for B2C collections.
- The company collects 60% more than other agencies.
- Rozlin doesn’t charge fees on accounts where no payment has been collected.
- It makes use of not 1, but 4 skip-tracing databases.
- Rozlin is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau.
- While Rozlin has a national reach, it can’t do so in some states that have heavy restrictions.
- You need to open a minimum of 5 accounts.
Atradius Collections is one of the country’s leading commercial collection companies. Founded in 1925, it is present in 28 countries – with a coverage of 96%.
The company offers the following services:
- Amicable debt collections
This allows for non-contentious payments for commercial debts. It often includes brokered negotiations or structured payment plans.
- First Party collections
This enables companies to generate a payment from the receivable accounts. With Atradius, you can reduce DSO, all the while overcoming language concerns in smaller industries. With the help of the company’s collecting officers and new-age software, it can help decrease the number of overdue account receivables.
- Legal collections
This is recommended should amicable debt collection fail. This service helps circumvent problems such as language issues, local rulings, and debt collection through bailiffs.
- Insolvency Services
This service is best for debtors who have gone bankrupt. This provides guidance and support through the litigation process, and such could improve your chances of winning a settlement.
- Invoice Checking
This can help businesses in double-checking invoices, apart from evaluating the client’s ability to pay. As such, this process may help prevent defaults in the future.
- Standby Services
This helps in the monitoring of a company’s financial portfolio. Should a red flag occur, the agency will activate a collection procedure.
- Atradius has an extensive local and international reach.
- It doesn’t have a minimum amount set for debt collection.
- It offers Collect@Net, an online platform that allows the client to monitor the company’s collection activities.
- Atradius provides an online debt collection service for B2Bs.
- It levies higher charges for accounts under $2,500.
- International transaction fees can be quite hefty.
The Kaplan Group is heralded as the best commercial collection agency with its 85% success rate. Founded by Jerry Kaplan, the Los-Angeles based company has become one of the largest credit collection agencies in the country.
As a commercial agency, it specializes in B2B debt collection from LLCs, partnerships, proprietorships, and corporations. This is done with the help of background investigation, skip tracing, credit analysis, payment plans, settlement agreements, collection litigation, and judgment collection.
Apart from offering full-service debt collection throughout the country, it also services international clients that deal with large sums of debt.
The company’s collection rates are as follows:
- 10% for accounts over $500,000
- 15% for accounts ranging from $50,000 to $499,999
- 20% for accounts costing $5,000 to $49,999
- 25% for accounts ranging from $1,000 to $4,999
- 50% for accounts under $1,000 – for long-term clients only
- 30% for debtors outside the United States
- Its services are limited to B2B debt collection.
- The company immediately sends a short demand letter a day after receiving a claim.
- It doesn’t collect fees if it has failed to receive payment from the debtor.
- The company has an in-house attorney for out-of-court debt collection.
- The Kaplan Group is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau.
- Your first claim must at least be $10,000.
- It doesn’t provide service to companies with multiple claims that are less than $10,000 – unless you’re a long term client.
Altus Receivables Management takes pride in being the largest collection agency in North America. For the past 3 decades, Altus has been staffed by certified professionals who can complete first and third-party collections efficiently.
With the help of an advanced program called ARM STRONG, the company can streamline the collection process. As such, the company can help you maximize cash flow with cheaper operational costs.
Altus offers the following collection services:
- First-party collections
This service helps with managing internal and commercial account receivables. As such, it can help reduce DSO, debts, and write-offs.
- Third-party collections
If you have problematic debtors, then you should consider enrolling in Altus’ third-party collection service. With the help of the company’s 200+ trained professionals, you can recover the payments for past-due accounts.
- Legal forwarding
This fast legal escalation process can help improve the size of financial recovery.
- International debt collection
With offices in 67 countries, Altus can help you get payments from foreign debtors.
- Credit intelligence
This provides valuable data that can help you determine if your client is a potential risk.
- Asset & liability reports
If you’re thinking of embarking on a joint venture, strategic investment, or partnership, then this service is for you. It gives you a bird’s eye view of the risks that may come with a new team.
- Altus is fully licensed and bonded.
- It has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
- The company makes use of a sophisticated program for collection – ARM STRONG.
- Altus has a global reach that makes it effective for international debt collection.
- It is certified by the Commercial Law League of America, the International Association of Commercial Collectors, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Service Organization Control, and the National Association of Credit Managers.
It has BBB complaints that are deemed in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting act.
Transworld Systems Inc. or TSI for short is a collection agency founded in 1970. It boasts of services that are powered by a predictive analytics platform. At the same time, it provides complimentary services that can improve back-office operations and recoveries.
TSI offers its collection services to the following industries:
- Small to medium-sized businesses
- Healthcare organizations
- Educational institutions
- Financial institutions
- Government agencies
- B2Bs and B2Cs
Whatever industry you may be in, you can take a pick from any of TSI’s solutions:
- Pre-charge off debt recovery solution
This is an early intervention system that helps minimize default rates.
- Post-charge off debt recovery solution
This helps you collect due accounts and high-balance plans that have been charged off. Services include first and third-party collections, legal services, bankruptcy processing, probate debt collection, and proof of claims.
- Specialty solutions
This provides back-office support for more efficient operations. Services include student loan servicing, ARM consultancy & optimization, and portfolio & agency management, to name a few.
- TSI has a next-gen delivery platform that is equipped with data security, data analytics, and industry compliance.
- The company offers additional services that can help streamline your company’s operations.
- It is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau. However, it is listed with a rating of A+.
- It has received some complaints that are said to violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Rocket Receivables is another one of the collection agencies that work best for small businesses. The company is powered by TSI, a solutions provider that specializes in cash flow solutions for small to midsize businesses.
Rocket Receivables services the following industries:
- Credit unions
- Child care centers
- Home protection services
- Educational agencies
- Insurance companies
- Law firms
- Retailers and manufacturers
- Service providers
- Municipalities and cities
The company makes use of a 2-stage recovery system that has no hidden fees.
Stage one entails the fixed-fee collection, which includes diplomatic approaches, dispute resolution, debt validation, and scheduled contact, among many others.
This is then followed by stage two, which includes proprietary scoring algorithms, bankruptcy & recently deceased screening, NCOA database scrubbing, and asset investigation, among many others. This process is usually recommended for B2B and B2C accounts.
Rocket Receivables follows a fixed-fee pricing pattern for its services.
The rates are as follows:
- $21.95 per account for 10 accounts ($219.50 total)
- $17.95 per account for 25 accounts ($448.75 total)
- $14.95 per account for 50 accounts ($747.50 total)
- Negotiable rates for 100+ accounts
- Rocket Receivables’ pricing is fully transparent. It has no set-up fees or minimum amounts required.
- The company boasts of a success rate that is 4x better than the average.
- It comes with an online portal where you can easily submit accounts and monitor their progress.
- No fees are levied for accounts that have failed to collect.
- It is fully compliant with HIPAA, FDCPA, and TCPA, to name a few.
- Rocket Receivables has yet to be accredited.
- Debts more than 120 days old are automatically relegated to stage two of the collection process.
Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., LPA is a law firm that offers a consumer collection service. With its 89 years of service, it has been the top choice of large American banks, as well as some of the more prominent companies in the country.
Throughout the years, the company has served the following industries:
- Credit card issuers
- Debt buyers
- Healthcare industries
- Retail finance
- Student lenders
The firm works in several focus areas, namely:
- Cease & Desist and Credit Union Representation
With a diverse portfolio experience, Weltman has done contingency-based collections and national litigation representation.
- Healthcare Collections
Through its compliance letter & call program and compliance review & education, it has collected payments through flexible fee structures.
- Collateral recovery
It performs bankruptcy collateral recovery as well as post-repossession collection and third-party recovery.
- Education loan recovery and litigation
Following regulatory compliance, Weltman has become a student loan center of excellence.
Equipped with comprehensive reporting, the company has successfully completed multiple post-judgment recoveries.
- Weltman is licensed and bonded in all states except North Dakota.
- It is manned by 60 in-house lawyers and specialists with strong industry experience.
- Weltman is accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
- You can make payments through the eClientNet, which is ready for use 24/7.
It has received BBB complaints regarding late processing.
Credit Management Company is a Pennsylvania-based enterprise that specializes in collection and recovery. Founded in 1966, it has provided its valuable services to various markets, including government agencies, healthcare companies, higher education institutions, financial institutions, and commercial companies.
The company’s primary services include the following:
- First party accounts receivable management
This involves the sending of letters and statements, as well as making phone calls, to complete debt collection. It also includes other services such as pre-collections, early out, primary collections, and account scoring.
- Debt recovery services
This can help minimize the time wasted over delinquent accounts. This includes third-party collection and skip-tracing services. With the help of CMC’s trained staff, you get better cash flow.
- Claims resolution service
If ever you have been denied claims for a service that has already been rendered, CMC can help overturn this for you.
- CMC is adherent to the guidelines put forth by ACA, CFPB, and FDCPA.
- The company makes use of sophisticated business analytics and predictive scoring.
- CMC assigns dedicated personnel for every sector.
- The company utilizes advanced skip-tracing techniques.
- CMC has been rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau.
CMC has some complaints in BBB regarding its billing/collection services.
Aspen is a national debt collection agency based in Brooksville, Florida. It specializes in the following industries:
- Educational loans
Aspen collects Student Accounts Receivables, Federal Student Loans, K-12 Private Schools Child Care Expenses, Nursing Loans, Student Parking Fees, Library Fines, Room and Board Etc.
- Timeshares or vacation ownerships
Aspen ensures that Default Collections, Deed Back Programs, Mutual Release Services, Owners’ Associations Dues, Campground Collections, and Amnesty Programs are settled.
- Utility cooperatives
With the help of customer calls and collection letter services, Aspen helps improve recoveries for utility companies.
- Other industries
Through the use of skip-tracing, reporting, tracking, and risk management modeling, Aspen can effectively collect debts from other industries as well.
As a licensed, bonded, and insured company, Aspen handles accounts on a contingency fee basis. With the help of the CAW browser, clients are given electronic access to their accounts – so they are updated with the payments that have been collected and whatnot.
- Aspen provides services in Canada and Mexico as well.
- The company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and the American Collectors Association.
- Portfolio reports are provided on a weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly basis.
- Aspen collectors undergo rigorous training and certifications.
Clients should place accounts for a minimum of 6 months.
FCR Collection Services is a private entity located in California. Founded in 2001, it seeks to deliver ethical, effective, and reliable collection services.
It specializes in account receivable collections in industries such as:
- Commercial debt
- Textbook rentals
- Energy and utilities
- Medical debt
- NSF checks
- Low dollar claims
The collection process starts with FDCPA’s requirements for the initial letter and email notification. This is followed by calls that make use of TCPA-compliant technology.
Once the debt has been communicated to the addressee, FCR will provide a variety of payment methods – through IVR, web, mail, or phone.
Should the consumer continue to ignore the notifications even after 120 days, FCR will contact the lawyers on its back-end. These attorneys are placed in charge of exerting the other efforts needed for collection.
Apart from its basic services, FCR also provides the following:
- Skip-tracing with a proprietary platform that searches data according to consumer utility, cell phone use, and credit reporting.
- Litigant alert, which is made possible by the WebRecon platform. Here, investigators can check a person’s record, if he/she has been sued by other companies in the first.
- Attorney network for further debt collection methods.
- FCR won’t collect fees on unresolved accounts.
- All FCR staff members are based in the US.
- The company accepts multiple payment types.
- Its proprietary software allows service customization according to business/industry.
- FCR accepts low dollar claims.
The website does not publish a list of service rates and fees.
Martini, Hughes, and Grossman is a commercial collection agency founded by an experienced judge and fraud examiner. It makes use of a soft audit approach, which can help businesses maintain good relationships with their clients-cum-debtors.
The firm specializes in 3 services, namely:
- Consumer Collection
This service focuses on debts owed by consumers to the firm’s clients. Compliant to HIPAA and FDCPA, MHG collectors are known to exhibit better debt collection practices.
- Commercial Debt Collection
For over 12 years, MHG has helped businesses collect high balance debts. This is made possible with the company’s skip-tracing platform, asset & liability assessments, private investigators, and UCC filings. With its collection system infrastructure and certified fraud examiners, MHG can help you collect from big-scale debtors.
- Government Collection Services
Debt is an all-too-familiar problem for government officials and suppliers as well. With the help of MHG, you can collect payments from the concerned entities – even if they’re on the other end of the globe.
The schedule of fees are as follows:
- 20% for accounts 30 to 90 days past due
- 25% for debts 91 to 365 days past due
- 35% for debts 1 year and over
- 50% for accounts 2 years and over
- 35 to 50% for international debtors
- 50% for 2nd placements and judgments
- 50% for accounts under $1,000
- 40% for legal accounts
- Half of the usual fee for returned merchandise
- MHG is an accredited A+ rated business.
- With its state of the art approach, MHG promises to double the yield of other collection agencies.
- MHG doesn’t levy fees on uncollected accounts.
Accounts under $1,000 and those 2 years old & older come with a whopping 50% fee.
Frequently Asked Questions
This entity uses 2 primary methods for collecting debt – letters and phone calls.
The computer-generated letters often start with friendly reminders, which may then progress to ultimatums.
The first letter should state that the debtor has the right to dispute the debt’s validity through writing. Should an agency receive this, it has to send a confirmation letter from the creditor. It has to indicate that the information gathered will only be used to collect payment.
The collector should keep the envelope free from details that reveal the nature of the letter. The info should be discrete, which could be done with the use of the agency’s initials or any other non-particular name.
Phone calls, on the other hand, prohibit the collector from divulging the reason to a person other than the debtor. Such agencies are required to provide a toll-free number for the debtors to call.
Information gathered from such a call will be noted, as this will be used to determine the chances of payment or other appropriate action/s.
There are many benefits to hiring a collection agency service:
Agencies are well-versed with the laws and ruling that govern debt collection. Should you do this by yourself, you may do something that could prod the debtor to sue you. You could avoid this by hiring a company that knows the ropes of local and federal debt collection statutes.
Better and faster chances of debt recovery
Collection agencies specialize in debts. They employ techniques and technologies that work better and faster in terms of repayment.
Another thing, agencies can start collection accounts that tarnish the debtor’s credit score for 7 years. As such, this serves as a good motivation for clients to pay up the amounts they owe.
Collection agencies make the necessary paperwork for every debtor they pursue. This will come in handy should you decide to sue the client. It will also be useful should you wish to apply this debt for tax deductions. The IRS needs to see that you have done everything in your power to collect the debt before it can be written off as a deduction.
Collection agencies can adjust their fees or collection schedules according to your needs. They could levy a flat fee or a commission on the collected amount, whichever is more suitable to your circumstances.
It’s best to hire an agency at the soonest time possible. The industry norm is 90 to 120 days after the customer’s due date, as going beyond this greatly diminishes your chance of collecting payment.
Here are some of the other signs that necessitate the help of a collection agency service:
a. The new customer did not respond to your first attempt in seeking payment.
b. The client does not follow through with the payment plan that was agreed upon by both sides.
c. The buyer denies any responsibility he or she has over the debt.
d. The unpaid customer has started to make complaints about your business or service.
e. The client has a known history of financial problems.
It will help the collector resolve the debt faster if you provide these pertinent data right away:
a. Client’s name, including nicknames, aliases or maiden name
b. Customer’s physical address, contact numbers, and email addresses
c. The name of the debtor’s spouse, relatives, neighbors, and friends
d. Transaction details – date, amount, etc.
e. Documents related to the transaction, i.e. contracts
f. Details about the debtor’s response to your collection attempts
This is a federal law that regulates the collection industry. Under this, such agencies need to follow these rulings:
a. Calls should not be placed before 8 am or after 9 pm unless the debtor consents to this.
b. Collectors cannot place calls in locations that inconvenience the debtor (i.e. work).
c. The collector should honor the letters that concern the case.
d. The agency cannot make false claims or statements or send documents that seem legal but are not.
e. The agency should contact the debtor’s attorney if he or she has one.
f. The collector should give the debtor should a validation or verification of the debt.
g. The collector cannot contact the third-party affiliations (family, friends) more than once.
h. Agencies cannot threaten harm, violence, and garnishment. The company can only declare seizure of property if it plans on doing so.
Collection agency services can help any establishment collect debts or payments from delinquent debtors. It can provide you with legal protection, apart from a better chance of making collections.
When choosing a company, you should consider its specialty, insurance, fees, personnel training, technology, reputation, and other services.