Registration of debt collectors

The Regional State Administrative Agency keeps a register of companies that are involved in voluntary debt collection. 

Debt collection requires registration if it involves

  • collection of outstanding debts on behalf of another party 
  • collection of the creditor’s own outstanding debts when the debt has been obtained solely for the purpose of debt collection.

The purpose of voluntary debt collection is to make the debtor pay the debt due to the creditor voluntarily.

About the registration

Debt collection activities may only be carried out by companies that are registered in the Regional State Administrative Agencies’ debt collection register. If you plan to engage in debt collection activities, you must submit a notification to be entered into the register. 

Unregistered debt collectors violate the law. We prohibit the debt collection activities of unregistered debt collection companies.

Companies are not required to register in the following cases:

  • the creditor collects debts owed personally to them
  • the creditor collects outstanding debts for a corporation belonging to the same group
  • the debt collection is occasional and has not been marketed
  • the supervision of the debt collection activities is arranged in some other manner. This applies to credit institutions, fund management companies, insurance companies and lawyers, among others.

The preconditions for being registered in the debt collectors’ register are:

  • The applicant has the right to engage in trade in Finland.
  • The applicant has not been declared bankrupt. 
  • If the applicant is a natural person: the applicant is of age and legally competent and has not been appointed a legal guardian.
  • The applicant is trustworthy.
  • The applicant is financially sound.
  • The applicant has declared a person who is in charge of the debt collection activities and who meets the requirements set out in legislation.
  • The applicant is capable of taking care of client funds.
  • The applicant is capable of appropriately protecting the data of the client and the debtor.

The applicant must submit documents and information that we cannot obtain otherwise to the Regional State Administrative Agency in order to assess whether the conditions listed above are met.

You should notify us if the information entered into the register changes. 

If the person in charge of debt collection activities changes, you need to notify us within one month of the termination of the previous person’s post. You should also notify us of the termination of operations.

 The target time for processing registration notifications is two weeks. 

Registration decisions by debt collection agencies as well as changes in the register data are subject to a fee. Decision fees for registration notifications submitted for processing in the online service (notification to start business operations and register data change notifications) are cheaper than for registration notifications submitted on paper. 

For more information on our fees, visit page Fees and charges.

Completing the registration notification

To enter the debt collectors’ register, you need to submit a notification using our online service. For the moment, you can only sign into our online services with a private individual’s online banking credentials. Other authentication methods, such as company authentication, cannot be used to sign into the service.

State the following information in the application:

1. Private entrepreneurs

  • full name of the private entrepreneur
  • personal identity code or, in the absence thereof, date of birth
  • business name and possible auxiliary business names used for debt collection 
  • company ID or similar ID 

2. Legal persons  

  • legal person’s business name and possible auxiliary business names used for debt collection 
  • company ID or similar ID 

3. Contact information

  • visiting addresses for the offices 
  • postal address
  • telephone number and e-mail address for communication with authorities
  • website address

4. Invoicing information

  • billing address or e-invoicing details
  • invoice reference data

5. Contact person

  • name of the contact person
  • contact person’s telephone number and e-mail address

You should state the following information concerning the person responsible for debt collection:

  • full name of the person 
  • personal identity code or, in the absence thereof, date of birth 
  • the responsible person’s consent along with the person’s signature, name in block letters and date
  • statement clarifying the responsible person’s position in the debt collection agency. State whether the person in charge of debt collection activities is an employee of the debt collection agency or a member in one of its bodies.

You need to submit information on the following persons:

  • CEO and deputy CEO
  • board member and deputy board member
  • member and deputy member of the supervisory board or an equivalent administrative body
  • general partner 
  • other person holding a position in senior management.

You also need to state the persons who

  • directly or indirectly hold more than 25 percent of the shares in the limited liability company 
  • directly or indirectly hold more than 25 percent of votes conferred by shares
  • have equivalent holding or control in another type of company.

For these persons, you should state the following information:

  • role
  • full name 
  • personal identity code or, in the absence thereof, date of birth. 

If the same person holds more than one position in the company (e.g. both as a CEO and as a board member), enter the person’s information in all relevant fields in the online form. All information regarding the person’s position must be stated in the notification.

You need to provide two documents as attachments:

  • a diploma demonstrating that the person knows the relevant debt collection legislation 
  • proof of the person’s employment relationship with the debt collection agency, such as an employment contract, unless the responsible person is a member in one of the debt collection agency’s bodies.

Attach the following information:

  • proof that the client funds are kept in an account intended only for client funds 
  • information on the bank account used for storing client funds 
  • a document declaring that the account is intended for client funds, such as a client fund account agreement, its terms and conditions or a statement from the bank
  • proof of other methods used to prevent the intermixing of client funds with the applicant’s funds.

You should attach evidence of how your company plans to ensure that the data of the client and the debtor are adequately protected. Provide information on the following aspects: 

1. Protection of personal data by technical and other methods from

  • unlawful access 
  • accidental or unlawful destruction
  • alteration
  • disclosure
  • transfer.

2. Permissions to use and process personal data

  • access rights to personal data 
  • safety precautions (such as passwords) ensuring that only authorised persons can access the data.

If you need more detailed information on data protection, consult the office of the Data Protection Ombudsman.

Under the Finnish Act on the Registration of Debt Collectors, we must assess the trustworthiness and solvency of foreign persons in charge of debt collection activities. We also need this information on Finnish citizens who are living abroad.

You should provide the following documents:

  • a criminal records extract (may not be more than three months old)
  • an extract from the reg­is­ter of business prohibitions
  • an extract from the insolvency register
  • a certificate from enforcement authorities
  • a copy of the credit report
  • tax decision

If any of these documents are unavailable, we will assess the need for that document on a case-by-case basis. We will assess the person’s trustworthiness and financial standing based on the documents and information we have received.

If you need more information, you can contact us by e-mail: [email protected] 

Frequently asked questions

Companies must be registered as debt collectors if they intend to collect debts on behalf of another party or purchase debts for collection. 

There are some exemptions from the registration obligation. These exemptions are specified in the Finnish Act on the Registration of Debt Collectors.

Registration is not mandatory in the following cases: 

  1. the debt collection is occasional and has not been marketed
  2. the organisation or foundation is under the control of the state, a municipality or a church and carries out debt collection activities on behalf of another organisation in a similar position in accordance with the Accounting Act
  3. the company collects the outstanding debts of a company belonging to the same group, or the client and the creditor are operating under the control of the same person
  4. the debt collection agency is under the supervision of the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority
  5. the debt collection activities are carried out by a lawyer or a lawyer’s assistant
  6. a party to an estate of a deceased person or the administrator of an estate collects debts due to the estate
  7. the administrator of an bankruptcy estate collects debts due to the estate
  8. the company operates in another European country and is only temporarily engaged in debt collection in Finland.

However, the operators mentioned in points 3, 6 and 7 must register if they have obtained the outstanding debts solely for the purposes of debt collection.

Creditors are allowed to collect debts owed personally to them. Debts due to a creditor who belongs to the same group may be collected without registration. Lawyers are supervised by the Finnish Bar Association, which means that they are not required to enter the Regional State Administrative Agencies’ register. Death estates and bankruptcy estates do not have to register if they are collecting debts due to the estate.

You do not need to get registered if you wish to collect outstanding debts through the court or through an enforcement process (so-called legal collection). The supervision of legal collection does not fall within the authority of the Regional State Administrative Agency. 

Links to legal texts

Topics that might interest you

Summaries of Regional State Administrative Agencies’ decisions (in Finnish)

Summaries of Regional State Administrative Agencies’ decisions concerning debt collection

Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority

Consumer Ombudsman’s guidelines on good debt collection practice

Data Protection Ombudsman

Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman