Trade body reports collections sector increasingly embracing new communications technologies – encourages regulators and government to follow suit

A new survey by the Credit Services Association (CSA), the UK trade body for debt collection and debt purchase, found that firms expect to either explore or adopt new communications technologies in the coming years, which will afford customers a broader range of options to engage and discuss their debt. Despite this move toward digital solutions, the diversity of customers that collections firms encounter means that traditional methods of communication such as telephone calls and letters will continue to play a significant role in the process, to ensure that no customers are left behind.

The survey and new report – Embracing Technology: the growth of digital communications in the collections sector – was produced by the CSA and takes a broader look at developments in the communications methods used by the collections sector following the trade body’s recent exploration of the challenges posed by outbound contact. The paper details the changes the sector has seen in the use of different communications methods and considers some of the changes the industry might see in the future.

The report also explores some of the various barriers collections firms face when implementing newer communications technologies, with cost being a significant factor especially for some SMEs. The report also highlights how delays in modernising some areas of the regulatory landscape could potentially stifle innovation in the sector, singling out the government’s delays in reforming the statutory notice requirements under the Consumer Credit Act.

Daniel Spenceley, Compliance Manager at the CSA, said: “The shift towards digital customer engagement is significant, but our sector is staying diverse in how it communicates for the time being. Our paper highlights some of the developments and progress the sector has made in supporting customers to engage with collections and purchase firms. But more importantly, we hope this paper will help generate discussion across the industry around the opportunities presented by new technologies and how we can mitigate the accompanying challenges.”