Credit Clerks and Authorizers Career Information
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Nature of the WorkCredit authorizers, checkers, and clerks
review credit history and obtain the information needed to determine the creditworthiness
of individuals or businesses applying for credit. They spend much of their day
on the telephone obtaining information from credit bureaus, employers, banks,
credit institutions, and other sources to determine applicants' credit history
and ability to pay back the charge.
Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks process and authorize applications for credit, including credit cards. Although the distinctions among the three job titles are becoming less, some general differences remain. Credit clerks typically handle the processing of credit applications by verifying the information on the application, calling applicants if additional data are needed, contacting credit bureaus for a credit rating, and obtaining any other information necessary to determine applicants' creditworthiness. If the clerk works in a department store or other establishment that offers instant credit, he or she enters applicant information into a computer at the point-of-sale. A credit rating will then be transmitted from a central office within seconds to indicate whether the application should be rejected or approved.
Some organizations have credit checkers, who investigate a person's or business's credit history and current credit standing prior to the issuance of a loan or line of credit. Credit checkers also may telephone or write to credit departments of businesses and service companies to obtain information about an applicant's credit standing. Credit reporting agencies and bureaus hire a number of checkers to secure, update, and verify information for credit reports. These workers often are called credit investigators or reporters.
Credit authorizers approve charges against customers' existing accounts. Most charges are approved automatically by computer. When accounts are past due, overextended, or invalid, or show a change of address, however, sales persons refer transactions to credit authorizers located in a central office. These authorizers evaluate the customers' computerized credit records and payment histories to quickly decide whether or not to approve new charges.
Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks held about 67,000 jobs in 2009. Nearly half of these workers were employed by finance and insurance industries, mainly firms in credit intermediation and related activities, such as commercial and savings banks; credit unions; and mortgage, finance, and loan companies. Credit bureaus, collection agencies, and wholesale and retail trade establishments also employ these clerks.
Job Outlook for credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks is expected through 2010. Despite a projected increase in the number of credit applications, automation will allow fewer workers to process, check, and authorize applications than in the past.
Credit scoring is a major development that has improved the productivity of these workers, thus limiting employment growth. Companies and credit bureaus now can purchase software that quickly analyzes an applicant's creditworthiness and summarizes it into a "score." Credit issuers then can easily decide whether to accept or reject the application depending on the score, speeding up the authorization of loans or credit. Obtaining credit ratings also is much easier for credit checkers and authorizers, as businesses now have computer systems that are directly linked to credit bureaus that provide immediate access to a person's credit history.
The job outlook for credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks is sensitive to overall economic activity. A downturn in the economy or a rise in interest rates usually lead to a decline in demand for credit. Even in slow economic times, however, job openings will arise from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation for various reasons.
Median hourly earnings of credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks in May 2009 were $13.97. The middle 50 percent earned between $11.27 and $17.56. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.19, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $21.90. Median hourly earnings in nondepository credit intermediation were $13.74 in 2009, while median earnings in depository credit intermediation were $15.62.
Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks obtain and analyze credit histories. Other workers who review account information include bill and account collectors, loan officers, and insurance underwriters.
State employment service offices and agencies can provide information about job openings for credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks.