Collect! Credit and Collection Software™

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How To Use Variable Interest

The Variable Interest feature enables you to easily and automatically calculate variable interest rates on your accounts based on an underlying interest rate index table. You can have one or several Principal transactions on each account. Collect! uses the Payment Date of each Principal transaction, plus 1 day, for the initial "Calculate interest from date". Subsequent calculations are read from the date ranges and interest rates contained in the interest rate index.

Useful Note Variable Interest is a licensed extension module. Contact us for pricing if you require this functionality.

If you are entering Judgments in Collect!, ensure you have verified with your legal counsel that this is the calculation of choice before enabling a Variable Interest calculation on Judgment accounts.

There are several parts to the Variable Interest feature:

Variable Interest Rate Index

The interest rate index is a CSV file that you create with two columns, representing the Interest Start Date and Interest Rate. Enter the date ranges and interest rates that you require. Each Interest Start Date is the date you want Collect! to start using the interest rate listed in the corresponding Interest Rate column.


Interest Start DateInterest Rate

Useful Note These columns do not have labels. The column headings above are for demonstration purposes, only.

Sample CSV

Each entry has to be on its own line.


Useful Note Even if you have not entered your dates in a completely date ordered sequence, the system will apply an ascending sort order when it reads the interest rates file.

Save your settings as a CSV in the Collect\bin\vinterest folder.

Useful Note After editing the interest rates table and saving your CSV, it is necessary to logout of Collect! completely and log back in to read the new changes.

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Date Format

Collect! uses the settings from the Date Format screen when reading the variable interest CSV.

System date format is accessed by the menu path "System\Preferences\Options, Sounds and Colors\Date Format".

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Client Settings

You may either specify which clients will use this interest rate index, or you can select at a debtor level which interest rate index to use.

Select and enter a client for whom you are setting up variable interest, and click the Advanced button in the lower right corner of the screen. This will open the Client Settings screen. In the upper right corner of this screen, the third field down is called Variable interest rates file. In this field, enter the filename of the CSV file you created.

Variable Interest Rates File

Useful Note If you have several clients with different requirements, you can create an interest rate index CSV for each one. Just name each uniquely and place them all in the Collect\bin\vinterest folder.

After placing CSV files in the "vinterest" folder, you must completely logout of Collect! and log back in again. This is the only way that the new interest rate table(s) will be read by the session you have initiated.

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Debtor Interest Detail

Useful Note Please examine any Principal Transactions existing on each account and ensure that you agree with the date in the Payment Date field. The system uses the Payment Date of each Principal transaction, plus 1 day for the initial "Calculate interest from date".

Principal Transaction

To enter the Interest Detail screen on a debtor, click into a Principal amount field on the front face of the debtor screen. This will open the Financial Detail window. The Interest Detail Tab is located in the mid-screen, left side of the screen.

Once you have entered the Interest Detail Tab, you then click the Interest Type drop-down arrow and select Variable Interest from the pick list.

Interest Type Variable Interest

Collect! 'hides' most of the other usual interest settings you would expect to see for simple interest because for variable interest, the same fields are not user-defined but predicated by the CSV rate table created. You can select the appropriate Rate Basis.

Useful Note Select "Ordinary" for your Rate Basis if you want to dynamically calculate the interest taking into consideration the number of days in each year. If you select one of the other options for Rate Basis, this will be the value the system will use for every interest period in your Variable Interest Rates file, regardless of the actual number of days in the year.

Useful Note You can put in a file name in the Variable interest rates file field here also. The file name entered here will overwrite the file name entered at the client level. This allows you to different rate indexes for different groups of debtors.

Variable Interest Rates File on Debtor Interest Detail Form

As soon as you close the Financial Detail screen, Collect! calculates the interest for the account and displays it in the Debtor's Interest field.

Total Interest Calculated and Displayed

The calculation of interest is dynamically reset according to your settings. You must RECALC the Debtor to see any new changes.

Useful Note When using Variable Interest, you should recalc all your accounts each day.

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Examining Variable Interest Rate Breakdown

Once you have initially set up the Variable Interest feature, it is a good idea to follow the accounts and verify that your calculations are giving expected results. This would indicate that your rate tables are typo free.

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Variable Interest Calculations

Variable Interest calculations use the formula:

I = A((1+R/N))^n)-1)

I = Interest due
A = Assessment amount (Ex. 1827.00)
R = Annual interest rate (Ex. 9.00)
N = Number of days in the year (Ex. 365)
n = Number of days in the date window (Ex. 180)


On $1827 at 9%:

01/01/2009 -> 06/30/2009 (180 days) at 9.00% = $82.90

82.90 = 1827((1+.09/365)^180)-1)

Useful Note The number of days in the year (N) is determined by the Rate Basis you set in the Interest Detail. Select "Ordinary" if you want to dynamically determine the number of days in each year. Select one of the other options (360, 364 or 365) if you want to use a fixed number of days in the year for every interest period in your table.

Useful Note When using Variable Interest, you should batch RECALC your debtor accounts every day.

For debugging purposes, the calculations may be displayed when you access the Debtor screen, as above-noted. Rates are set as soon as accounts are recalculated either by opening a Debtor, or through \Tools\Recalculate.

Interest is simple interest, floating point values are truncated, immaterial Interest Detail fields are hidden and calculation is based solely on the CSV interest rate table.

Useful Note Collect! uses the Principal transaction's Payment Date plus 1 day as the Calculate Interest Start Date.

Multiple Principal transactions are each calculated separately from Payment Date plus 1 day and totals are added into the Interest Field on the Debtor screen. Switching on "Enable internal debug checks" displays a calculation summary to initially assist you with verifying the calculations for each interest bearing Principal transaction applicable on the account. This is a temporary measure meant to assist with preliminary stages and should be turned off once the process is vetted and confirmed working soundly, meaning the CSV tables created are accurate.

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When a payment is posted to an account, it will affect the Variable Interest calculations if the payment reduces the account's outstanding Principal. Depending on the agreements between the debtors and the creditors, you may have your payment hierarchy set with the Collect! shipping default which applies payments to Fees, then Interest, then Principal, OR, you may be using a modified hierarchy that applies all payments to Principal first. Any payment that reduces the total Principal will result in interest being calculated on the new, reduced Principal amount.

Useful Note You control payment breakdown hierarchy with options set in \System\ Financial Settings\Transaction Types windows. Each Financial Type Payment transaction should have the default order of operations set to match your agency's preference.

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Troubleshooting Variable Interest

There are a few situations that may result in an error when using the Variable interest feature.

Failure Reading CSV File
This error may occur if you have failed to create the CSV properly. The format must be standard, as displayed above. If there is a typo in any of the cells, you will get this message.

Invalid Line in Interest CSV

The message shows you the error. There is no comma between the values for the date and the rate.

Failure Opening CSV File
This message usually indicates a file named differently from what you have in your Client or Debtor Settings. Go to the client or debtor, click the Advanced button, and compare what you have entered in the "Variable interest rates file" field with the actual name you stored in the Collect\bin\vinterest folder.

Failure Opening CSV File

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