The debt collection industry could be on the cusp of a fintech revolution thanks in part to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Debt collection phone calls may soon give way to emails, texts and even social media direct messages if the CFPB moves forward with rules under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Collections that utilize machine learning and artificial intelligence could follow under a separate CFPB proposal to create a regulatory sandbox program for financial innovation.

Consumer advocates are concerned that those developments could harm debtors and could even lead to more lawsuits against them. But there is little...