Debt Collector Notification
Iowa does not license debt collectors. However, debt collectors who collect over $25,000 a year (all accounts, not just Iowa accounts) are required to file notification with the Attorney General of Iowa and pay a $10 annual fee.
Our office vigorously enforces the Iowa Debt Collection Practices Act. We strongly urge all debt collectors to become familiar with this law and to consult with private legal counsel, as necessary, before beginning collection activities in Iowa.
Debt collectors who fail to file notification with the Office of the Attorney General and pay the appropriate fee may be subject to late fees of $25, as well as a possible civil action in which the administrator may recoup interest, the costs of the action, and a penalty not exceeding the greater of $1,000 or three times the fee owed.
Who is a debt collector?
- Creditors collecting their own debts: While most creditors collecting their own debts are not required to file notification as a debt collector, they must comply with the substantive requirements of the Iowa Debt Collection Practices Act.
- Attorneys who act as debt collectors: Law firms whose attorneys act as debt collectors and collect over $25,000 a year must file notification with the Office of the Attorney General.
Companies that solely collect commercial debt are exempt from filing notification with the Office of the Attorney General.
Who needs to file notification?
Debt collectors who meet both of the following criteria must file notification with the Office of the Attorney General and pay the annual fee:
1. Collect consumer debts from Iowans
The definition of consumer debt under Iowa law is quite broad and includes a variety of debts other than consumer credit transactions.
Debts that often fall under this definition include, but are not limited to:
- Dishonored checks
- Medical bills
- Accounts based on "90 days same-as-cash"
- Typical accounts receivable billings (for consumer purposes)
- Debts incurred:
- for personal, family or household purposes, where credit was extended,
- that did not exceed $25,000, and
- where the debtor was an individual, would be considered a consumer loan and is covered under Iowa law.
2. Collect over $25,000 in total debts in the previous or current calendar year (based on the aggregate amount of debt collected from all sources, not just Iowa accounts)
Example: Debt collector collected $50,000 in debts last year, but only $5,000 was from Iowa debtors. This debt collector would still be required to file notification with the Office of the Attorney General and pay the annual fee.
Please note that the Iowa Debt Collection Practices Act does not apply solely to third party collectors; it also applies to creditors collecting their own debts. While most creditors collecting their own debts are not required to file notification as a debt collector, they must comply with the substantive requirements of the Iowa Debt Collection Practices Act.
Attorneys who act as debt collectors are required to file notification. Law firms whose attorneys act as debt collectors and collect over $25,000 a year must file notification with the Iowa Attorney General.
How to File Notification
Debt Collectors required to file notification with the Iowa Attorney General must do so within 30 days of commencing collection activities in Iowa, and then by January 31 of every subsequent year.
- Online: You can file online and pay the annual $10.00 registration fee through our website. Notice: This system does not allow payment via credit card. The online payment option requires filers to enter bank account information to establish an automatic debit. Filers paying by auto-debit will be charged a $1.00 convenience fee.
- By Mail: If you prefer, you can fill out the printable form along with a $10.00 check. Checks should be made payable to "Iowa Consumer Credit Administration Fund" and sent, along with a completed Debt Collection Notification Form* to:
Office of the Attorney General of Iowa
Consumer Protection Division
Attn: Notification & Fees Administrator
1305 E. Walnut St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
*Additional documents are not required.
After You File
Collectors who have filed notification with the Office of the Attorney General will not receive a confirmation, notice or hard copy license. Collectors with rejected notifications will be notified by our staff.
Approved notifications will be processed and can be viewed online approximately 20 business days after their receipt.
It is important that collectors notify the Office of the Attorney General in writing of any changes in their company’s contact information to ensure all communications from the Iowa Attorney General, including notification filing reminders, are received in a timely manner.
Changes should be submitted in writing and include the name of the company, the previous, incorrect information and the updated, current information.
Reminders will be sent in early December. Failure to receive reminders will not exempt a late filing from the $25 late fee.
Check out our FAQ section for more information.
Iowa Consumer Credit Code - Iowa Code Chapter 537
Definition of debt, debt collector, and debt collection – section 537.7102
Iowa Code 537.7102 (3) “Debt” means an actual or alleged obligation arising out of a consumer credit transaction, consumer rental purchase agreement, or a transaction which would have been a consumer credit transaction either if a finance charge was made, if the obligation was not payable installments, if a lease was for a term of four months or less, or if a lease was of an interest in land. A debt includes a check as defined in section 554.3104 given in a transaction in connection with a consumer rental purchase agreement, in a transaction which was a consumer credit sale or in a transaction which would have been a consumer credit sale if credit was granted and if a finance charge was made, or in a transaction regulated under chapter 533D.
Iowa Administrative Code, Administrative rule 61, Chapter 22