The 7 Best Debt Collection Services in the UK in 2023

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Unpaid invoices can have very real implications for your business. A recent report from Nerdwallet found that 55% of SME's in the UK have outstanding invoices from the 2022/23 tax year, and over a third of the businesses they spoke to said they were considering reducing spend in other areas because of this, by doing things such as downsizing their offices or even pausing recruiting.

What are the top 7 debt collection agencies in the UK?

Based on our research, these are the providers we'd recommended. Use our cost comparison tool to find the best service for your business.

  1. Direct Collection Bailiffs Ltd Best overall
  2. Safe Collections  Best for a personalised approach
  3. DLC  Best for large corporate companies
  4. Darcey Quigley & Co  Best for small businesses or individuals
  5. Access Credit Management  Best for businesses with international clients
  6. Hilton-Baird  Best for outsourcing all your debt recovery needs
  7. Legal for Landlords Best for landlords

With the UK still on “recession high alert” in the final quarter of 2023, a healthy cash flow is arguably now more important to small businesses than ever, and debt collection services are a great way to stay on top of this. Their teams will pursue your customers for payments, helping to maintain your business's cashflow and freeing you up to continue running your venture.

We've researched the top debt collection services in the UK and found Direct Collection Bailiffs Ltd to be the best overall, beating the competition with its speed and value for money. However, depending on your needs, other companies might be a better fit.

To discover them, read on, or you can use our free comparison tool to receive bespoke quotes from trusted providers – you can then compare these quotes to make the right decision for your business.

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Safe Collections


Darcey Quigley & Co

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Legal for Landlords

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Best for small businesses or individuals

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Best for businesses with international clients

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Best for outsourcing all your debt recovery needs

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Best for landlords

What value of outstanding debt you need to collect, roughly?

Compare Best Agencies

1. Direct Collection Bailiffs Ltd  Best overall debt collection agency in the UK

dcbl logo
Direct Collection Bailiffs Ltd
4 Trustpilot score
Pricing Bespoke
Quick overview

There aren’t many debt collection services that can claim to star in their very own TV show; Direct Collection Bailiffs Limited (DCBL) is the exception. In addition to giving viewers an insight into the inner workings of debt collection, the Channel 5 show Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away! serves a primer of what this company can do.

What we like about Direct Collection Bailiffs Ltd

Each debt recovery case needs to be approached differently, and that’s exactly what DCBL does – all for a fixed price, with no hidden costs (as we cover more in-depth in our DCBL review). Experience has shown DCBL that a phone call will often only get you so far; person-to-person contact improves its success rate, and its staff aren't afraid of this approach. If it’s quick results and a professional service you’re after, you’d be hard pushed to find better service.

While its Trustpilot score could be better (4/5), it does boast over 2,000 reviews (much more than most of the companies we researched), which is a testament to its efficiency.

Direct Collection Bailiffs Ltd pricing

Direct Collection Bailiffs Ltd's prices are custom and only available upon quoting. That said, we can help you find out exactly how much your business would pay for their services by using our free comparison tool to get quotes tailored to your needs.

2. Safe Collections Best for a personalised approach

safe collections logo
Safe Collections
5 Trustpilot score
Pricing Bespoke
Quick overview

Safe Collections has nearly 40 years of experience in this field and, with over 135,000 successful collections, has an enviable track record. Boasting a perfect 5/5 score on Trustpilot, it's the highest-rated debt collection company we came across during our research process.

What we like about Safe Collections

Safe Collections packs overdue invoice recovery services as well credit improvement assistance tools, which is given a personalised touch by its often-praised managing director, Adam Home. Several customer reviews we looked into commend him directly for being an experienced port of call, explaining in detail what to expect of the company, and giving solid debt collection advice overall. This advice can go from steps you can take to ease your debt collection or even how to avoid debt collection scams.

In addition to enforcing county court judgments and tracking down elusive debtors, Safe Collections can help you improve your cashflow with its outsourced credit control solution. It also offers consultancy services, helping you to run your credit control more efficiently.

Safe Collections pricing

Safe Collections works on commission per every collection, and therefore does not charge advanced or fixed fees. The commission itself is bespoke but, crucially, it's only charged if the collection is successful.

3. DLC  Best for large, corporate companies

Pricing Bespoke
Quick overview

DLC is one of the largest privately-owned debt collection services in the UK. It offers a range of collection services including debt purchase, outsourced collections, litigation, as well as tracing.

What we like about DLC

DLC focuses solely on servicing large corporate clients, and is extremely professional and works with each individual client to ensure that the best options for their needs are met. The company has received accreditation from a number of respected credit and trading standards organisations. It aims to help clients recover debts successfully, and to ensure fairness for debtors.

On the flip side, DLC doesn't have any Trustpilot presence, which is likely due to the fact that it belongs to a financial conglomerate (in this case, Cabot Financial).

DLC pricing

DLC's pricing is bespoke and pricing will depend on what you require.

4. Darcey Quigley & Co Best for small businesses and individuals

darcey quigley logo
Darcey Quigley & Co
4.8 Trustpilot score
Pricing From 3%
Quick overview

Founded in 2007, Darcey Quigley & Co is a Glasgow-based debt collection company with an impressive customer satisfaction record, which is currently rated 4.8/5 on Trustpilot. It also has a 93% success rate, with over £250 million collected on behalf of its customers.

What we like about Darcey Quigley & Co

Darcey Quigley & Co assigns each debt collection or credit management case to a dedicated consultant who handles it and will report to you. This approach is sure to give small business owners and individuals extra peace of mind. In addition to debt collection, the company also offers credit control management and sales ledger recovery solutions.

Darcey Quigley & Co pricing

Darcey Quigley & Co's fees start from 3% for its debt collection services, while the precise percentage you'll pay will be disclosed in your quotation. However, its fees will only be applicable if the collection is successful.

▶ Need more advice on how to tackle unpaid invoiced and debt?: Read more in our comprehensive guide to handling late payments and unpaid debt.

5. Access Credit Management Best for businesses with international clients

Access Credit Management logo
Access Credit Management
Pricing Bespoke
Quick overview

Access Credit Management has accreditation from Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, and is also fully licensed under both the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and the Data Protection Act 2018.

What we like about Access Credit Management

Access Credit Management specialises in dealing with both UK and international debt, meaning it’s the best option for businesses that deal with overseas clients. The company's core services include debt recovery, outsourced credit collection, and insolvency options.

Access Credit Management pricing

Operating on a contingency basis, you won't need to pay anything to use these debt collection services. If the debt is recovered, a percentage will be taken by Access Credit Management.

6. Hilton-Baird  Best for outsourcing all your debt recovery needs

hilton baird logo
Pricing Bespoke
Quick overview

Hilton-Baird is a professional and award-winning service provider that can help businesses with everything from singular collection to managing entire debt recovery activities.

What we like about Hilton-Baird

Hilton-Baird's services include debt recovery, receivables management, debt purchase, and credit control services –among others. It also caters to multiple industries across the UK, such as the financial and retail sectors.

A reliable collection agency that can deliver effective results, Hilton-Baird is well-suited to businesses owners who are looking to free themselves up completely from the in and outs of debt management.

Hilton-Baird pricing

Hilton-Baird doesn't provide general pricing information, so you'll need to contact the agency to receive a quote.

7. Legal for Landlords Best for landlords

Legal for Landlords
4.8 Trustpilot score
Pricing From £119
Quick overview

Established by landlords, Legal for Landlords knows and understands the pain points of being a landlord and offers an affordable, fairly straightforward service to help you deal with any issues. It offers you one point of contact even if you have multiple problems to discuss and solve to ensure you have someone to speak to who understands your situation and can offer you customised assistance.

What we like about Legal for Landlords

If you're just starting out in your debt collection process and are not yet certain of the options available to you or just need some guidance, Legal for Landlords offers free advice, which you can easily book online.

Legal for Landlord's debt recovery services include debtor tracing, pre-court action letters, and small claims representation. The debtor tracing, which can take up within 7 to 14 days, costs £79 + VAT – with an employment check also available for a bespoke fee.

For small court representation, possible for debts up to £10,000, the company charges £519 + VAT plus court fees, which depend on the amount you're claiming. If you win, you're able to enforce this payment for up to six years.

Legal for Landlords also offers two enforcement services, for cases where you already won a legal case against the debtor. The Attachment of Earnings Order (AOE), which instructs the debtor’s employer to deduct money from their wages to pay you back, costs £499 + VAT. Alternatively, a Writ allows the seizure of debtor's assets to pay their debt and its costs start at £499 + VAT.

Previous customers reported that Legal for Landlords offers efficient and great service that makes the process easier, which earned the company a 4.8/5 score on Trustpilot, with over 3,800 reviews.

Legal for Landlords pricing

Legal for Landlords pricing will depend on which of the services you'll require it to perform. These services include (all prices are exclusive of VAT):

  • Residential debtor tracing: £79
  • Attachment of Earnings Order: £499
  • Writ: From £499
  • Small claims representation: £519

Next steps

If you’re a UK business owner and finding it difficult to recover unpaid debt, we highly recommend talking to a debt collection agency. According to the aforementioned survey conducted by Nerdwallet, the number of unpaid invoices has increased over the 2022/23 financial year; this means that as the UK continues to skirt on the edge of an economic recession, the issue of unpaid debt is becoming increasingly unmanageable for SME's that don't have the right support. 

To find a debt collection agency that is the best fit for your requirements, use our free comparison tool. We'll need to know the amount of debt you're chasing, where your debtors are based, and if they're businesses or individuals. The agencies we match you with will be in touch with obligation-free quotes and advice that is tailored to your business's unique circumstances and needs.

It is worth noting that writing off unpaid debt doesn't have to be an inevitable part of doing business. Leave it to the professionals, and recoup what you’re owed.

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Best UK Debt Collection Agencies FAQs

Why hire a debt collection agency?
Hiring a debt collection agency is way of preventing delayed payments from becoming lost income. Through it, you're able to outsource the tracking down of  debtors, the repeated contacts, and the difficult conversations usually associated with chasing up payments. Also, by using a third-party, you have a higher chance of keeping the relationship with your customer, should you wish that.
What's the best debt collection in the UK?
According to our independent research, Direct Collection Bailiffs Ltd is the best debt collection in the UK. Its speed and value for money were among the factors that contributed to this result. Unsurprisingly, it scores a great 4/5 on Trustpilot.
How do I choose a debt collection agency?
  1. Find out how the agency tracks debtors and collects
  2. Check reviews of the agency online
  3. Find out how they'll charge you (some agencies operate on a no win no fee agreement or on commission)
  4. Check to see if any complaints have been brought against the agency
What is the success rate of debt collectors?
The success rate of debt collectors in the UK is between 84% and 95%, depending on the provider. This is considerably higher than in other countries, such as the US, where the debt collection success rate hovers between 20% and 30%.
What is the commission rate for debt collection agencies?
The commission rate for debt collection agencies in the UK varies from 5% to 35%. The rate you'll end up paying will be calculated and provided to you in a quotation. This amount is influenced by factors that include the debt amount and time overdue.
Do debt collection agencies give up?
Debt collection agencies are unlikely to give up chasing payments. This is because a lot of them operate on a “no collection, no fee” policy, which means their own income will depend on their success rate.
Written by:
Lucas Pistilli author headshot photo
Lucas is a Brazilian-born journalist and Expert Market’s go-to writer for all things EPOS systems, merchant accounts, and franking machines. Having covered business, politics and technology for many years, he’s driven by his passion for the written word and his goal to help people make well-informed decisions.
Reviewed by:
Julia Watts author headshot photo
Specialising in business software, Julia writes jargon-busting guides about VoIP, fleet management, dash cams, fuel cards, and more. Having spent almost a decade writing for entrepreneurs and reviewing business solutions, she loves helping exciting ventures – big or small – to flourish.