Your ARMor

The UCS Newsletter, providing A/R management and debt collection insights, with the commitment of maintaining the important balance between

Results and Results
 vol. 4 issue 2
Table of Contents

What Makes UCS Different?

National Consumer Assistance Plan: New Data Reporting Changes Begin to Go Into Effect

Business Office Extension 

UCS: All Around Town

Food for Thought
You have been great to work with on this unfortunate issue. 
Thank you so much for your kindness.  Please apply this check to reference# XX-XXXXXXXXX.
      Thanks so much,
               a consumer

I want to thank Krys for being so polite and helpful. She is an asset to your company.
         a consumer

Thank you Kori, You are the best!

Hi Shirley, Thank you for always treating me with respect when you call. I'm sure you're the #1 collection person. Could you please send me the paid-in full letter for both accounts?
           a consumer

Summer is in full swing and I’m thankful. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say it’s one of my favorite seasons.  The days are longer and all of that extra sunlight just makes us feel good. But there is so much more to love: farmers markets with lots of fresh, local produce; outdoor activities like kayaking on the lake; and of course baseball!  This year we are going to get an extra bonus—the Summer Olympic Games. 

Granted, had Chicago won their bid as host of the 2016 Summer Olympics I would have been ecstatic, but I am looking forward to the opening ceremonies to see what Rio de Janeiro comes up with.  I love all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds the Games and I can’t wait to get to know the members of Team U.S.A. I love hearing their bios and watching the videos that provide a little insight into who they are and what motivates them.

In 2012, four-time Olympic gold medalist, Missy Franklin, was quoted as saying, “For me the most emotional aspect of the Olympics is being a part of a team and seeing your teammates do so well, watching my teammates win gold medals, watching them break world records: it’s just so motivating for me.” 

I can really relate to her words. Being a part of a great team has always been very rewarding for me in both my personal and professional life. But what makes a team great?  At UCS, we look for and foster a set of characteristics we think make our team great.  It is no coincidence that these attributes are probably the same ones you look for when you team up with a collection agency.

Specialization:Just like athletic teams, business teams need to possess a wide range of talents, all working together for the win.  There is no ‘i’ in team, but individual and varied skill sets are a must and should be encouraged. Dependability: You need to be able to rely on your team members and trust them to get their respective jobs done accurately and on time. You know what they say, you are only as good as your weakest link. That’s why cooperation is such an important part of a joint effort. Team members should always treat each other with respect and support one another and be able to ask for or offer help when necessary. When colleagues are able to work together and openly share their experiences and knowledge, problems are resolved quickly and work gets done efficiently.

Effective communication is of course vital in all teams and can never be taken for granted. Sometimes the best way to tell if you are communicating well is to actively listen.

At United Credit Service, we think flexibility is an extremely important quality for team members—and our business—to possess.  Change is inevitable and we must be able to adapt. The ability and willingness to not only try new ideas, but to actively look for innovative ways to problem solve will stop our team and business from becoming stagnant and keep us moving forward.

The traits in bold letters above are made even greater and more effective when everyone works together. I like to refer to it as ‘having all of our oars rowing in the same direction’.  But I think Vince Lombardi said it best when he said, “Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

I would like to thank the team members of UCS for their commitment to our group effort. We’d be nothing without them.

If you are a client and have already teamed up with UCS. Thank you, we appreciate your business. And if you are a prospective client, we would love the opportunity to try out for your team.  Click here for more information.

I hope you enjoy the summer. Go Team U.S.A.! 

Best regards,
What Makes United Credit Service Different?
                           by Mark Hammerstrom

I am often asked by prospective clients what makes United Credit Service different, or what are the things that differentiate us from our competitors? Why team up with us?

There are indeed a number of things that make us different, but before answering that question I will pose another back: In what ways are the best collection agencies alike?

The reason I pose that question is that there are, frankly, a number of very bad actors that portray themselves as collection agencies.  In fact, these bad actors have been a real source of grief to high quality collection agencies like UCS, as well as to the industry as a whole.  While they often talk a good story, their qualifications are less than stellar and they try to make up for their lack of expertise by seemingly attractive pricing models.  The fact is, it is easy to spot a so called pretender if you know what the best agencies all have in common.

So what are these common qualifications?

  • Experience:  Good agencies have a demonstrable and measurable track record of success. UCS has more than 65 years of debt collection experience.
  • Licensed:  While many states have little or no licensing requirements, many states do and their requirements are often very stringent. Good agencies are properly licensed to do business and as debt collection agencies in the states in which they operate.  USC is no exception and is fully licensed to collect and do business in the states we operate in, especially those with particularly stringent requirement such as Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois. 
  • Fully bonded and insured:  A good agency reduces the potential effects of adverse exposure by being fully bonded and insured, especially as licensing requirements dictate.
  • Financially sound:  To acquire a license, often times agencies must demonstrate the soundness of their financial position.  UCS is financially sound and our 65-year record of success ensures we are in a position to serve our clients well into the future.
  • Training:  All personnel are properly trained in the process and procedures required by law to collect a debt legally and ethically. All UCS representatives undergo rigorous training before they make the first contact with a debtor.
  • Accreditation and certification:  Good agencies utilize industry recognized, properly accredited certification programs to ensure their representatives comply with legal collection requirements.  This certification process also helps agents stay up-to-date on ever changing laws and requirements.  All UCS representatives are certified by ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, a recognized nation-wide industry association.
  • Compliance:  Debt collection agencies must comply with a variety of privacy, information protection and security practices required by both law and client requirements. UCS fully complies with all federal, state and local compliance requirements. 
  • Performance measurement and continuous improvement:  Good agencies should be able to provide performance measurements to their clients and demonstrate processes in place for continuous improvement.  UCS exceeds many industry benchmarks for performance and collection statistics, while striving for continuous improvements to enhance collection efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Technology:  the technology is in place to meet legal requirements including agent call monitoring, call recording, information system security, as well as provide ease of access for clients to manage their account using secure, state-of-the-art web based technology.  UCS has made significant investments in the latest technology to ensure our systems meet legal requirements and provide our clients with an easy to use, highly secure, web based account management system.

Now to the question of what makes us different. 

  • Depth of experience:  our 65 years of experience brings to the table virtually unprecedented depth and breadth of experience in collecting a wide variety of debts, commercial and personal, in a variety of industry verticals.  From large enterprises to small, we handle them all with the same level of attention and quality to ensure maximum effectiveness.
  • Collections results that exceed industry averages:  Our experience and focus has allowed us to provide our clients with exceptional results, often exceeding industry averages.  For example, in the challenging healthcare industry our collections rates are 29.5 percent against a reported industry average of 21.8 percent.  We are very proud of our dedication to providing our clients with the best results possible.
  • Compassionate approach to collections:  not all debtors are the same and everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.  We always try a reasonable approach to collect a debt before employing more aggressive tactics. 
  • Experienced representatives:  Given our extensive experience, we are very proud of the fact that our employees average more than 12 years of experience in the collections industry. 
  • Comprehensive training and certification: All agents undergo a formal training and certification program—before they make their first contact--to ensure the highest degree of professionalism in representing our clients.
  • Commitment to service: individual account representation ensures our clients have access at all times to a dedicated collections representative to answer questions, handle unique client requirements and provide the highest level of personalized attention possible. Our clients are not numbers to UCS!
  • Solid core business values:  We pride ourselves on adhering to a strong set of basic core principles which have been our guide to past success and future vison:
    • Honesty, Integrity and Fair Play – characterizes how we will conduct ourselves with our clients, consumers and each other.
    • Adherence – to all laws and regulations, without fail.
    • Balance – in our business and personal lives is important and encouraged.
    • Innovation – we must never stop trying to find creative solutions, technology or services that create value for the Company or our clients.
    • Embrace – what we do, how we do it, and strive to be the best that we can be.
    • Recognize and Reward – individuals will be judged by, held accountable for, and rewarded for their actions and contributions.

  • We do not pay commissions:  Our employees are compensated on the basis of salary or hourly wages plus benefits.  This eliminates overly aggressive collection efforts and allows each client account equal, individual attention. 
  • No account scoring:  Some companies ‘score’ accounts based on criteria designed to make sure the easiest and most collectable accounts receive the most attention. UCS does not score our client’s accounts and each and every one receives the same dedicated effort and attention they deserve. 
  • Easy to do business with:  We are committed to not complicating our client’s already challenging business situation. Our business practices, from our simple Agreements to legal action to collect debts, are structured to provide the easiest and simple ways to make our clients work life easier. 
  • Customized solutions for unique business needs:  unique and individual client requirements provide us with a challenge to deepen our relationships and we encourage our clients to bring us their needs and let us provide solutions regardless of scope and complexity. 

We encourage you to visit our website: where you will find more about us, our products and services and business approach. We also suggest you follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook where we frequently post useful information regarding our company, trends in the collections industry and other resources to improve your collections results. 

Don’t settle for second best; team up with the best. call UCS!
National Consumer Assistance Plan: New Data Reporting Changes Begin To Go Into Effect
Last year, the three main credit reporting agencies (CRA’s) Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion announced the National Consumer Assistance Plan to enhance their ability to collect complete and accurate consumer information and provide consumers an easier, more transparent experience while interacting with CRA’s about their credit reports. 

Important changes in the Plan include:

  • Data accuracy and quality

  • Medical debts won’t be reported until after a 180-day “waiting period” to allow insurance payments to be applied. The CRAs will also remove from credit reports previously reported medical collections that have been or are being paid by insurance.
  • Consistent standards will be reinforced by the credit bureaus to lenders and others that submit data for inclusion in a credit report (data furnishers).
  • Data furnishers will be prohibited from reporting authorized users without a date of birth and the CRAs will reject data that does not comply with this requirement.
  • The CRAs will eliminate the reporting of debts that did not arise from a contract or agreement by the consumer to pay, such as traffic tickets or fines.
  • A multi-company working group of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies has been formed to regularly review and help ensure consistency and uniformity in the data submitted by data furnishers for inclusion in a consumer’s credit report.  

  • Consumer experience:

  • Consumers visiting, the website that allows consumers to obtain a free credit report once a year will see expanded educational material.
  • Consumers who obtain their free annual credit report and dispute information resulting in modification of the disputed item will be able to obtain another free annual report without waiting a year.
  • Consumers who dispute items on their credit reports will receive additional information from the credit reporting agencies along with the results of their dispute, including a description of what they can do if they are not satisfied with the outcome of their dispute.
  • The credit reporting agencies (CRAs) are focusing on an enhanced dispute resolution process for victims of identity theft and fraud, as well as those who may have credit information belonging to another consumer on their file, commonly called a “mixed file.”

Our understanding is that Experian has already submitted cease and desist notification to businesses for all credit reporting transactions listed as unacceptable data. See list below. (TransUnion is expected to submit their cease and desist notification in the near future.)

  • Fines and Fees
Examples include but not limited to:
  •            Towing Charges
  •            Vehicle Storage Fees
  •            Parking and Traffic Tickets/Fines
  •            Toll Road Fines/Fees
  •            Ordinance Violations
  •            Library Fines
  •            Video Rental Fees
  •            Prequalification Fees
  •            Brokerage Fees
  •            Eviction Fees

  • Continuity Clubs
Examples include but not limited to:
  •            Health Club Dues
  •            Karate Club/Martial Arts Dues
  •            Magazine Subscriptions
  •            DVD/Book Club Fees

  • Pre-Paid Debit/Gift Cards
  • Checking/Savings Account Activity Balances
  • Home Owners’ Association (HOA) Dues
  • Child Support Enforcement Data from Non-Government Entities
  • Tribal loans not compliant with federal and state lending laws
  • Unacceptable Data by Industry Type
           Bail Bonds Companies
                                   Check Cashing Companies
                                   Pay Day Loan Companies

Implementation of the Plan began earlier this month on June 15, 2016, and will continue over the next 15 months.

Below is a summary of newly implemented and upcoming initiatives (through end of 2016) impacting collection agencies and debt buyers.  
For a list of all initiatives and effective dates pertaining to collections email us.
Business Office Extension
With over 65 years of experience in the collections industry, UCS understands the challenges industries face.  Business Office Extension is one of our customizable accounts receivable management solutions. 

Let our team members work as your team members.  Business Office Extension (BSO) can be achieved in many ways, including: dedicated 1-800 numbers and secure VPN connections.  Our most popular BOE program is Early Outs / Self Pay.  Insurance Claims Collection is another very effective, time and money saving BOE program.  Don't lose any more money due to timely-filing deadlines.  

Have a special project coming up, but don't have the manpower?  Business Office Extension might be a great solution. 

Email us today to get a conversation started.
UCS: All Around Town

Where we were:

May 16-18, 2016

WCA Spring 2016
Joint Conference

June 15-17, 2016

Wisconsin AAHAM
Spring Conference
Where we are going:

July 17-19, 2016

by the Lake Conference

See you soon!

August 24-26, 2016

HFMA Region 8 MidAmerica Summer Institute
Did You Know?
According to Geoffrey James at

  • You don't need an Einstein on your team. Small teams outperform solo geniuses. And brainiacs become brainier (more creative and effective) when working with others.

  • When team members work well together and bond, feel-good hormone oxytocin is released into their bloodstream and they enjoy work more.   

  • Men are not as happy working on teams consisting of more women than men. Conversely women do not appear to be affected by the men to women ratio.

United Credit Service, Inc.
15 N. Lincoln Street, P.O. Box 740
Elkhorn, WI 53121