Credit 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 or on the Internet obtaining
information from credit bureaus, employers, banks, credit
institutions, and other sources to determine applicants’ credit
history and ability to repay what they borrow or charge.
Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks process and authorize
applications for credit, including applications for credit
cards. Although the distinctions among the three job titles
are disappearing, 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 clerks work
in a department store or other establishment that offers instant
credit, they enter the applicant’s information into a computer
at the point of sale. A credit rating is then transmitted
from a central office within seconds to indicate whether the
application should be rejected or approved.
Credit checkers investigate the credit history and
current credit standing of a person or business prior to the
issuance of a loan or line of credit. Credit checkers also
may contact credit departments of businesses and service companies
to obtain information about an applicant’s credit standing.
Credit reporting agencies and bureaus hire checkers to secure,
update, and verify information for credit reports. These workers
often are called credit investigators or credit
Credit authorizers approve charges against customers’
existing accounts. Most charges are approved automatically
by computer. However, when accounts are past due, overextended,
or invalid, or when they show a change of address, salespersons
refer the associated transactions to credit authorizers located
in a central office. These authorizers evaluate the customers’
computerized credit records and payment histories and quickly
decide whether to approve new charges.
Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks usually work a standard
40-hour week. However, they may work overtime during particularly
busy periods, such as holiday shopping seasons and store sales.
Most credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks work in areas
that are clean, well lit, and relatively quiet. These workers
sit for long periods of time in front of computer screens,
which may cause eyestrain and headaches. Part-time work is
available, and temporary workers are often hired during peak
Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
A high school diploma or its equivalent is usually the minimum
requirement for these workers. Other requirements of the job
include good telephone and organizational skills and the ability
to pay close attention to details and meet tight deadlines.
Computer skills also are important in order to enter and retrieve
Most new employees are trained on the job, working under
close supervision of more experienced employees. Some firms
offer formal training that may include courses in telephone
etiquette, computer use, and customer service skills. Some
credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks also take courses
in credit offered by banking and credit associations, public
and private vocational schools, and colleges and universities.
These workers typically can advance to loan or credit department
supervisor or team leader of a small group of clerks.
Credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks held about 67,000
jobs in 2004. 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.
Employment of credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks is
expected to decline through 2014. Despite a projected increase
in the number of credit applications, technology will allow
these applications to be processed, checked, and authorized
by fewer workers than were required in the past.
Credit scoring is a major development that has improved the
productivity of credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks,
thus limiting employment growth in the occupation. Companies
and credit bureaus now can purchase software that quickly
analyzes an applicant’s creditworthiness and summarizes it
with a “score.” Credit issuers then can easily decide whether
to accept or reject an application on the basis of its score,
speeding up the authorization of loans or credit. Obtaining
credit ratings also has become much easier for credit checkers
and authorizers because businesses now have computer systems
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 leads 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 2004 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 2004, while median earnings in depository credit
intermediation were $13.62.
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
State employment service offices and agencies can provide
information about job openings for credit authorizers, checkers,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational
Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition