Apply for a permit to operate debt-collection activities
When is a permit to collect financial claims necessary?
Anyone who takes debt collection measures i.e. sends debt collection claims or exerts some other form of pressure on debtors to ensure that they pay their debts, is conducting debt-collection activities. A pure payment reminder or an indication that the claim may be transferred for debt collection do not, however, constitute debt-collection measures.
Anyone who intends to collect financial claims on behalf of someone else — known as a collection agent — or claims that have been transferred for collection generally need an IMY permit to conduct debt-collection activities. This applies to both legal entities, such as companies and other types of organisations, and individuals with or without a company.
When is a permit not required to collect financial claims?
There are four exceptions to the main rule that an IMY permit is required to conduct debt-collection activities.
- Anyone who only collects financial claims that have arisen from their own operations — known as self-collection — does not need a permit.
- Anyone who collects financial claims from companies that are part of their own group — known as group debt collection — does not need a permit. The application of this exception is clarified in regulation DIFS 2011:1.
- Anyone who has been granted some form of permit from Finansinspektionen and is therefore under FI supervision does not need a permit from IMY. This applies, for example, to banks, credit market companies and insurance companies. Companies that are registered with FI after notification, but which are not under their supervision, need an IMY permit to collect financial claims on behalf of others or claims that have been transferred for collection.
- Lawyers and employees of law firms may collect claims without a permit. Their debt collection activities are under the supervision of the Swedish Bar Association.
Please Note! Even those who do not need an IMY permit to collect financial claims are obliged to comply with the other provisions of the Debt Collection Act and good debt collection practice when collecting financial claims that have arisen from business activities.
What is required to obtain a debt collection permit?
Permits may only be issued if operations can be assumed to be conducted in an expert and judicious manner.
Applicants for permits must therefore show that the organisation or individual in question possesses sufficient knowledge to be able to conduct debt-collection activities. Applicants must also show that they are able to exercise good judgement. IMY makes its assessment based on descriptions of the activities requested in the application form and from the qualification documents and different types of certificates specified in the form.
When it comes to legal expertise, documented university or university college studies in law are generally required. A full Bachelor of Law degree is not required, but the educational level must be of a certain scope. In some cases, long practical experience of debt collection may offset the lack of theoretical training.
Normally, at least five years' practical experience of legal expertise and judicious debt-collection activities, or comparable full-time internships, is required if the person who is to be responsible for the expertise completely lacks university or university college legal studies. Practical experience can be proven by a certificate that states that you have worked with debt-collection processes under the supervision of someone who possesses the required skills when it comes to debt collection, for example in a company with a permit to conduct debt-collection activities. In such certificates, the types of tasks that have been performed, to what extent and for how long they have been performed and the person's references are examined.
Who is examined in order to grant the permit?
If the applicant is a legal entity, the applicant must specify an individual who is to be responsible for the legal expertise and judgement in the organisation, and who thereby becomes the individual whose qualifications are to be examined. The named individual must have good insight into day-to-day debt-collection operations and the opportunity to influence the organisation's debt-collection routines.
Depending on, among other aspects, the size and internal structure of the organisation, this may be an individual in management, the person who, in practice, will lead the ongoing debt-collection work or a legal expert who is an employee.
If necessary, the applicant may indicate one person to be examined for legal expertise and another to be examined as judgement expert.
If the applicant is an individual — with or without a sole proprietorship — this individual is examined for both legal expertise and judgement.
How to apply for a debt collection permit
The IMY permit must have been applied for and granted before you start up a debt-collection company. Processing of applications normally begins within two weeks after arrival at the Authority.
What to do
Apply using the IMY form. The application is free of charge.
- Download the file to your computer.
- Open it in Adobe Reader.
- Fill in all the interactive fields in the form carefully and save it.
- Send the form and the descriptions and certificates specified in the form to email@example.com or by letter to Integritetsskyddsmyndigheten, Box 8114, 104 20 Stockholm.