Collection of debts and claims for payment of money is a common phenomenon. Creditors often engage third parties in this process. Such third parties have an important function in the collection of those outstanding claims and in doing so they come into contact with both debtors and creditors (as principals). Until recently, such debt collection activities or the collection agencies were not defined in legislation and therefore not subject to legal quality requirements. Despite various initiatives in recent years from (market) parties to increase the quality of debt collection services (e.g. through self-regulation), research has shown that this can be further increased. The aim of the Wki is therefore to increase the quality of private debt collection services for the benefit of all parties involved.

Scope of the Wki

The Wki applies to so-called ‘extrajudicial debt collection activities' (buitengerechtelijke incassowerkzaamheden). These are activities aimed at obtaining payment of a claim for a sum of money (outside of court). Such 'activities' include, among other things, making contact, providing information, sending a payment reminder, demand or notice of default, dealing with defences, (trying to) reach a payment arrangement and receiving payments.

Furthermore, the relevant provision in the Wki stipulates that it covers only those extrajudicial debt collection activities that meet the following three cumulative criteria:

  1. which are performed or offered in the exercise of a profession or business aimed or partially aimed at, or in a manner as if they were aimed or partly aimed at professionally or business-like;
  2. for a third party or after assignment of the claim; and
  3. in respect of payment by a natural person domiciled in the Netherlands.

Sub (a) should be interpreted broadly. A party already comes within the scope of the Wki at the moment the extrajudicial debt collection activities are performed or offered exclusively in the exercise of a profession or business which is “aimed at that". According to the legislator, it is intended to ensure that, for example, a company that collects a claim assigned to it in the ordinary course of business does not fall within the scope of the Wki. On the other hand, a buyer of a portfolio of claims, such as a factoring company, does fall within the scope of the Wki. According to the legislator, the exercise of "profession or business" involves debt collection activities carried out professionally by private parties and aimed directly or indirectly at acquiring income or making profit.

With respect to sub (b) there is an important limitation: in order to prevent the Wki from also applying to the collection of own claims, the scope of the Wki is limited to the company that (professionally or commercially) performs extrajudicial debt collection activities (i) on behalf of a third party or (ii) after a claim has been transferred to this company.

Lastly, the extrajudicial debt collection activities relate to claims directed at a natural person domiciled in the Netherlands.  'Natural persons' could also include owners of sole proprietorships (eenmanszaken), partners of a general partnership (vennootschap onder firma) and partners of a partnership (maatschap).

Register of debt collection services

Debt collection service providers (including companies whose aim is to buy and then collect claims) are required to register with the "Register of Debt Collection Services" (Register Incassodienstverlening) by 1 April 2025. New debt collection service providers must register immediately. Registration applies to the entire company and not to individual employees. The company is responsible as a provider of such services. The registration application can be submitted via the dedicated form (as available on the Justis website via this link). There are costs associated with the registration application; in addition, a recurring fee for supervision and enforcement will have to be paid upon annual renewal of the registration. The register will be (limited) public and freely accessible to anyone.


When applying for a registration, the debt collection service provider must demonstrate that the organisation meets the quality requirements of the Wki. These quality requirements are further elaborated in delegated regulations, including the Decree on Quality Debt Collection Services (Besluit kwaliteit Incassodienstverlening, Bki), a regulation (Regeling kwaliteit incassodienstverlening) and the (draft) policy rules (Beleidsregels beoordeling betrouwbaarheid Wet kwaliteit incassodienstverlening). The quality requirements relate, among other things, to (i) the professional competence of employees and managers (see Article 2 Bki), (ii) the mandatory composition and specification of claims (see Article 3 Bki), (iii) the approach to a debtor and the provision of certain information (see Article 4 Bki) and (iv) the quality of the administration (see Articles 4 and 5 Bki). Furthermore, the debt collection service provider must establish a complaints mechanism (in accordance with Article 6 Bki) and be affiliated to a dispute resolution mechanism. Finally, it should be noted that the debt collection service provider may not employ staff without a certificate of good behaviour (not older than three months), a so-called “VOG”.

Supervision, enforcement and sanctions

The Justice and Security department (Inspectie Jusitie en Veiligheid) monitors compliance with this 'registration obligation' and the quality requirements. In case of a violation of the Wki, it is authorised to impose an order under penalty or administrative fine. It can also temporarily suspend or even strike out debt collection service providers. In doing so, it may cooperate with, among others, the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) and the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM).

A breach of the Wki also has consequences from a civil law perspective. First of all, a debtor cannot be held liable for collection fees for work done by an unregistered debt collection service provider. Furthermore, the debtor is also not obliged to pay to an unregistered debt collection service provider. It is therefore of (additional) importance to consult the register first, before outsourcing debt collection services to a third party!

Transition period

Debt collection service providers can register from 1 April 2024. However, the Wki provides for a transition period, "current" debt collection service providers have until 1 April 2025 to apply. On the other hand, "new" debt collection service providers, must register right away. Note that the quality requirements do come into effect immediately (including, for example, the obligation regarding the VOG).


Do you have questions about the Wki or on any other financial regulatory topics? Please contact our Financial Regulatory Team.