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Debt Collector

Kaikohi Nama

Alternative titles for this job

Debt collectors help businesses and individuals collect money or goods from people with overdue debts.


Debt collectors usually earn

$48K-$65K per year

Source: Kelly Services, 2019.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a debt collector are average due to decreasing job numbers but high turnover.


Pay for debt collectors varies depending on skills and experience.

  • Debt collectors usually earn between $48,000 and $65,000 a year
  • Senior debt collectors who manage teams may earn more than this.

Source: Kelly Services, 'Kelly Services Salary Guide 2019', 2019; and research, 2020.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Debt collectors may do some or all of the following:

  • keep track of client accounts and contact them to find out why they haven't paid their debts
  • work with clients to implement payment plans
  • organise the repossession of items or legal action against clients to settle overdue debts.

Skills and knowledge

Debt collectors need to have knowledge of:

  • the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act
  • relevant sections of the Consumer Guarantees Act and Privacy Act
  • District Court rules and procedures.

Working conditions

Debt collectors:

  • usually work regular business hours or do shift work that includes weekends and evenings
  • work in call centres and offices
  • may travel locally or nationally to visit clients.

Entry requirements

There are no specific requirements to become a debt collector. However, employers may prefer you to have contact centre experience or a New Zealand Certificate in Contact Centres (Level 3 or 4).

Debt collectors gain skills on the job and can also study for their certificate while working.

Secondary education

No specific secondary education is required for this job, but economics, maths and accounting to at least NCEA Level 2 is useful.


Personal requirements

Debt collectors need to be:

  • good communicators, including with people who are angry or upset
  • good negotiators
  • emotionally intelligent and able to relate different people
  • confident, resilient and self-motivated
  • able to work well under pressure

Useful experience

Useful experience for debt collectors includes:

  • work as a legal clerk
  • call centre work
  • customer service work
  • credit control work
  • work in a bank or insurance company.

Find out more about training

Ignite College
0800 200 345- -
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Average demand for debt collectors

Demand for debt collectors is average because even though vacancies are common due to high turnover, overall the occupation is shrinking.

According to the Census, 1,770 debt collectors worked in New Zealand in 2018, a 10.5% decrease from 2013.

Unstable economy creates more debt

Demand for debt collectors is likely to increase because the economy is unstable, which is causing more people to take on debt. According to the Reserve Bank, average household debt in New Zealand reached a record high in 2020.

Most debt collectors work for debt collection agencies 

Debt collectors usually work for debt collection agencies, which contract their services out to other businesses.


  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, ‘Occupation Outlook for Contact Centre Workers’, (
  • Reserve Bank of New Zealand, ‘Household Debt to Income Ratio’, accessed November 2020, (
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
  • Stats NZ, ‘Unemployment rate hits 5.3 percent due to COVID-19’, 04 November 2020, (

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Debt collectors may move into team management roles or other finance industry roles.

A male debt collector in a call centre talks to a customer on the phone

Debt collectors contact customers and arrange payment of unpaid bills

Last updated 27 March 2024