This article is part of an ongoing Think Differently series, launched in October 2019. Written by members of the iA Innovation Council, the series showcases thought leadership in analytics, communications, payments, and compliance technology for the accounts receivable management industry.


When you think about the intersection of artificial intelligence and debt collection, do you have a clear picture of what that means? Maybe your initial response is, yes, of course. But if you try to explain it, the vision may get a bit blurry. This is what happened to me. So I set aside the technology for a moment to try to illustrate what it means to interact with artificial intelligence in the collections process. I thought that if the concept were viewed from the perspective of a consumer, it would be easier to visualize how AI affects the experience.  So, I started where the experience is most recognizable -- the plain old process of getting a credit card and making purchases.

This led me to create an illustrated brief titled, “The Consumer’s Credit-Collections Journey, Powered by Artificial Intelligence.” Designed for legislators, regulators, industry participants, and anyone seeking to get their arms around how the latest technology affects the consumer experience, the brief provides a plain-English overview of what the consumer sees, what’s going on behind the scenes, and examples of the companies that provide the technology.

The illustrated journey begins with a consumer’s application for credit and continues through purchases, payments, and dealing with possible life curves such as fraud alerts, identity breaches, late payments or collection notices.

What became clear is that artificial intelligence -- especially in the form of machine learning -- offers a far more sophisticated approach to segmenting and servicing consumers in the manner best suited to the individual. Which means greater efficiency. And greater satisfaction on both sides of the communication.

What I also find exciting is the idea that machine learning can make it possible for call centers to benefit from the unstructured data they hold, such as call recordings or agent notes. If used correctly, this should be a benefit to consumers too. How often have you called customer service -- for the 3rd time -- only to have to repeat previously provided information because it didn’t fit neatly into a dropdown box or predetermined database field? 

The next step, of course, must be a more effective transfer of information between clients (like lenders, healthcare providers, telecom companies, utilities, and others) and their service providers (like outsourced call centers) so that data is not lost or buried. But I digress. 

This brief is intended to give regulator and industry stakeholders a place to start asking the right questions about the risks, the opportunities, and where they should focus their efforts as it relates to this fast-moving train of technology. I’d like to thank the members of the iA Innovation Council for their input. 

You can download the brief here.


About the iA Innovation Council

The iA Innovation Council is a collaborative working group of product, tech, strategy, and operations thought leaders at the forefront of analytics, communications, payments, and compliance technology. Group members meet in person several times each year to engage in substantive dialogue and whiteboard sessions with the creative thinkers behind the latest innovations for the industry, the regulators who audit and establish guardrails for new technology, and educators, entrepreneurs and innovators from outside the industry who can inspire different thinking.

Learn more at

2019 members include:

Activate Financial
Ballard Spahr
BCA Financial Services
Beyond Investments
Billing Tree
Citizens Bank
Clark Hill
Coast Professional
Convergent Outsourcing
Crown Asset Management
CSS Impact
DCM Services
Enhanced Recovery Company
First Collection Services
Firstsource Advantage
Frost-Arnett Company
GM Financial
Healthcare Revenue Recovery
Hunter Warfield
Moss & Barnett
National Recoveries
NCB Management Services
Ontario Systems
Performant Financial Corp.
Phillips & Cohen Assoc.
PRA Group
Radius Global Solutions
Spring Oaks Capital
State Collection Service
The CCS Companies
The CMI Group
Unifund CCR
Vital Solutions
Windham Professionals
W.S. Badcock Corporation


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