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Work as a debt collector (field agent or subagent)

Be licensed or registered

You need a licence or registration to work in most types of debt collection or process serving.

This includes if you:

  • find and recover goods (repossession)
  • collect debts face-to-face
  • serve documents (process serving).

Apply for a licence or registration

Alternatively, you can work as a collection agent if you only:

  • collect debts (and do not repossess goods or do process serving)
    and
  • contact debtors over the phone or in writing.

Find out about collection agents

Keep your photo ID

For debt collectors, we issue field agents and subagents with:

  • a licence or registration certificate
    and
  • a photographic identification card (photo ID).

You should have your photo ID on your person whenever you are working.

We will ask you for 2 passport size photographs when you renew your licence or registration. You must ensure that the photographs are clear and you are easily recognisable.

They must be certified by a person who:

  • is at least 18 years old
  • has known you for at least 12 months
  • is not your spouse or de facto partner
  • is not any other family member (by blood or marriage).

Show your licence

You must be able to show your licence, registration certificate or photo ID to:

  • a client
  • a debtor or targeted person
  • one of our Inspectors
  • anyone else you deal with in your business.

They can ask to see:

  • your individual licence or registration
  • your corporate licence
  • any employee’s licence or registration.

You must show either your photo ID or a copy of a licence certificate.

Follow the rules for all field agents

To operate as a field agent, you must:

  • be appointed by a client
  • not represent more than one party in any matter
  • only recover your costs from your client, and not from the debtor
  • take reasonable steps to find out the facts of a case and avoid acting in error
  • not misrepresent your lawful activities as a field agent
  • follow the law when dealing with inspections.

Follow the rules for senior officers

Documents and records

As a principal agent, you must store any documents required under the Act for at least 5 years. You will need to store them in a way that is:

  • neat and orderly
  • accessible
  • secure.

You can choose to store documents electronically. If you do:

  • your computer must have enough storage space
  • you will need to back up your files once a month.

Your backup files must be:

  • saved to a separate computer or on an external device such as a CD, USB stick or external drive
  • stored away from any device or item that may cause magnetic interference
  • stored somewhere other than your registered office, business address or another office.

Officer in charge of regulated business

An executive officer must have an individual licence to be in charge of your business’s regulated activities.

They must not be a registered subagent.

If the officer in charge is limited to carrying out only particular activities, such as process serving, then so are all of your employees.

Have the right licence

If a field agent employs you, you can be a:

  • licensed field agent
  • registered subagent.

You probably need a full licence if you work for either:

  • a field agent on a contract basis
  • an independent contractor.

If you are going to work on a contract basis, you should seek independent legal advice about your licensing requirements.