Debt collection agencies are designed to help businesses collect the monies that they are owed based on a contract. The contract can be between any creditor and debtor whether commercial or consumer.

In our last blog, we reviewed the top 10 reasons people go into debt. However, you might also be interested in a few shocking statistics surrounding debt collections. Exactly how much debt are Americans facing?

  • Approximately 30 million Americans have at least one debt in collections.

Of course, this debt could be anything from an unpaid toll on the turnpike to a doctor’s bill that’s in dispute. Debt collection agencies are often working to help businesses collect the money a consumer (or business) promised to pay in exchange for a product or service they received from the business.

  • Consumers have filed more complaints with the Consumer Protection Bureau over collection agencies than any other business, product or services.

Not all debt collection agencies are created equal. And in this case, it’s clear that some toe the line between trying to get ahold of a debtor and being too aggressive with their attempt to reach a consumer. Also notable is that one third of complaints come from Americans aged 62 and older.

  • The average U.S. household has $15,000 in credit card debt.

Perhaps the better question here is what the debt can be attributed to. Are consumers simply eating out too often, or do they need a little boost to their monthly phone bill budget?

  • College graduates in the U.S. end their studies with about $29,000 in school loan debt.

This statistic is not as shocking as the fact that nearly half of those college graduates work in jobs that don’t require a college degree. Laws don’t allow the payback of these loans to exceed about 10% of a student’s discretionary income. However, a missed payment will ding credit reports causing low credit scores for delinquent payees.

  • Unpaid medical debt is the #1 cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.

With the average mortgage debt in the U.S. at around $150,000 per household, it’s a bit surprising that medical debt is actually the #1 cause of bankruptcy claims. More than 20% of U.S. households have some medical debt.

  • The average amount of debt / case in collections is $366.

If you expected debt collections to exceed thousands of dollars, guess again. The majority of debt in collections, at its median, is about $366. Again, when choosing a debt collection agency, pay attention to how much their average collection amount is. They may handle a lot more cases if the numbers are small.

  • Marriage rates are decreasing due to financial hardship.

Wedding debt made the top 25 list of debt. However, less people are actually tying the knot due to financial hardship. Since couples feel less prepared financially, they’re cohabitating instead. Collection agencies may represent everyone in the wedding industry from caterers to flower vendors in order to collect unpaid debts.

What can we learn from these shocking statistics? Debt, it seems, is everywhere. And credit collection agencies aren’t just necessary, they are paramount to helping the businesses that provided services get the payments they deserve for their products.