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1.3.5.2.4 Types of debts collected

In the CFPB’s survey of fifty-eight third-party collectors in 2016, the three types of debts most commonly collected (each representing at least twenty percent of revenue) were medical debt, credit card debt, and student loans.214

Surveys commissioned by the collection industry have examined which types of debts comprise the largest percent of total debts collected in 2010, 2013, and 2016. The table below looks at the top three debts for each survey. In all three years, medical debt made up the largest percent of total debt collected.

Top Three Debts by Percent of Total Debt Collect by Third-Party Collection Agencies for 2010, 2013, and 2016215

Rank 2010 2013 2016
1 Health Care (52.2%) Health Care (37.9%) Health Care (46.8%)
2 Credit Card/Financial (20%) Student Loan (25.2%) Student Loan (21.2%)
3 Other (9.1%) Credit Card/Financial (12.9%)216 Government (16.4%)

A report of debt collection market segmentation by share of revenue stated that financial services (thirty-five percent) was first, followed by telecommunications (twenty-two percent), and other (fourteen percent).217

Footnotes

  • 214 Consumer Fin. Protection Bur., Study of third-party debt collection operations 10 (July 2016).

  • 215 Ernst & Young, The Impact of Third-Party Debt Collection on the US National and State Economies in 2016, p. 7 (Nov. 2017) (report commissioned by ACA International); Ernst & Young, The Impact of Third-Party Debt Collection on the US National and State Economies in 2013, p. 7 (July 2014) (report commissioned by ACA International); Ernst & Young, The Impact of Third-Party Debt Collection on the US National and State Economies, p. 8 (Feb. 2012) (report commissioned by ACA International).

  • 216 Here, the debt type uses the same name as 2010 for consistency. This survey actually had a broad category of “financial services” with 12.9% of total debt collected. This category contained credit card debt and other financial services debt.

  • 217 Consumer Fin. Protection Bur., Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: CFPB Annual Report 2017 (Mar. 2017), citing Edward Rivera, Debt Collection Agencies in the US (IBIS World, Dec. 2016).