If you'd like to learn how to fix and improve your credit for free without a loan or paying any expensive fees, we'll show you how - the free, legit way you can refresh your financial picture and get your finances back on track.
How to Refresh Your Financial Picture & Fix Your Credit Score for Free - the Legit Way
If you live in Canada and have bad credit, you can fix and improve your credit score for free without a loan or paying any expensive fees and refresh your financial situation in the process. There are three ways to go about doing this, and they don’t require a GIC, loans, or any technology to help refresh your credit - and they are all legit. Your situation may require one, two, or all three of these options – that’s up for you to decide – but we’ll lay out each option and how each one can help you.
What Credit Repair Programs Typically Do
All most credit repair programs do is provide you with information and advice on how to improve your credit score, give you a loan to help improve your credit, and charge you substantial fees and high interest rates to do this. What a lot of people don’t know is that there are cheaper, faster, easier, and more effective ways to do all of these things.
1. How to Fix & Improve Your Credit Score on Your Own for Free
You don’t need to pay anyone money every week or every month to help you fix or improve your credit score. We have all of the tips that work right here – for free. Take a look. We’ll show you the ways you can fix your credit quickly along with the most effective methods that take time. After you’ve done all this, we can then show you how to get a super high credit score. If all this isn’t enough for you, your situation is complex, or you’d like some specific help and guidance, jump down to option number 3 below. We’ll tell where you can find a financial expert near you for free who has expertise in helping people with bad debt.
2. How to Improve Your Credit Score with New Tradelines (Loans, Credit Cards, & Other Credit Products)
Credit repair companies often try to give people who sign up for their service a loan for two reasons:
- The loan will help you build or improve your credit score over a couple of years by giving you a new tradeline (any credit account that reports each month on your credit report) with a good history that is being paid as agreed. When you have bad credit, getting a new tradeline like this is key to helping you refresh your financial picture.
- The loan will help the credit repair company make more money off of you. They get to charge you a high rate of interest, fees for setting up the loan, possibly fees for maintaining the loan, and of course fees if you choose to end the loan early.
Some credit repair companies also claim that the loan helps you save up money because you’re going to have a GIC (Guaranteed Income Certificate) or a Term Deposit that’s all yours at the end of their program. This is non-sense. You can ask your bank or credit union to setup an automatic transfer for you that transfers a small amount of money from your bank account every payday to a separate savings account. You can even set this up yourself on your internet banking. Doing this yourself through your bank will give way more money – 50% more in some cases – because you’re not paying a middleman huge fees to do this for you.
Getting a secured loan or credit card on your own is way safer and cheaper too. Ask your bank or credit union if they can give you a cash secured loan where they loan you say $2,000, lock the $2,000 into a GIC or Term Deposit, and then you get credit on your credit report for making the loan payments each month. If your financial situation deteriorates and you lose your job, your hours are reduced at work, you get injured or fall sick and can’t work, you get divorced, or any other bad thing happens to you, the bank won’t send your loan to collections and destroy the credit you’ve been building up. They’ll take the GIC or Term Deposit and use it to payout your loan. To find out how a credit repair company will treat you in a worst case scenario like this (which actually happens far more often than you would think), read peoples’ reviews about the company online or read peoples’ complaints on the Better Business Bureau’s website.
If your bank or credit union can’t help you with a loan, see if they offer a cash secured credit card. If they don’t, here’s a list of 7 cash secured cards you could consider, and here’s a longer list here where you can search for all secured cards available in your province. If you want to try your luck at getting an unsecured credit card or loan, this company offers them for people with bad credit (Please note that we do not recommend any credit card or company. We are only listing available Canadian options here).
How Big of a Credit Limit Do You Need to Build Your Credit?
To build your credit, one credit card or loan (one tradeline) is enough. Two tradelines (two credit accounts) reporting on your credit report may help a bit more, but one will usually work just fine. What the credit scoring system is really looking for is how much credit is available to you, how much of it you are using, and if you are using it responsibly (paying on time, every time). A credit limit of $300 to $500 will help you rebuild your credit. However, a higher limit of $1,000 to $2,500 seems to help even more. The trick is to have credit available to you, prove you’re using it responsibly, and not carry a balance. If you do carry a balance, don’t let it exceed one third (1/3rd) of your credit limit or this will begin to reduce your credit score.
Rebuilding credit takes time. It all depends on how many late payments or other negative information is recorded on your credit report. All negative information is removed from your credit report over time according to set length-of-time schedules (see them all right here). As bad credit information falls off your report, your score can improve if good credit information is being reported. This is where having a good tradeline such as a secured loan or credit card can help. However, the credit scoring system is programed to look for time. The longer you’ve had a specific form of credit and have no late payments recorded for that loan or credit limit, the greater the effect will be on your credit score. You can learn more about all the factors that the credit scoring system uses to generate credit scores.
3. Where to Get Free One-On-One Assistance to Help Refresh Your Financial Picture
Free Help and Guidance from Local Non-Profits
A lot of people don’t know this, but some of Canada’s most helpful experts on fixing bad credit situations are non-profit Credit Counsellors who offer free appointments (either over the phone or in person) in communities across Canada. If you have debts you are struggling to pay or are struggling in some way with your finances, they are the best people to sit down with and go over your financial situation. Anything you discuss with them is completely confidential, and they are typically non-judgmental in their approach.
How to Get Free Advice from Your Bank or Credit Union
If you don’t have debt or financial problems and just want some specific advice about how to improve your credit score, meeting with a lending officer from your bank or credit union about a loan might be worthwhile. If you don’t qualify for a loan, ask them why and explain to them that you’d like to improve your situation so that you can come back to them to eventually get a mortgage, car loan, line of credit, or whatever you’re planning to do in the future. Your banker may try to be polite and avoid getting into details about your credit report, but if you tell them that you really want to know what the key issues are and what you should be doing to improve your credit score. They should be able to give you some very specific helpful advice. If your banker is super reluctant to talk about your credit report, let them know that credit repair companies want to charge you hundreds of dollars to help you fix your credit. Politely ask them if they think it would be wise for you to pay for this help. They’ll likely become a little upset that someone is charging so much money for something so simple, and offer you some good pointers for free.
How to Get a Free Copy of Your Credit Report
If you haven’t yet seen a copy of your credit report and are wondering how bad things really are, you can follow these steps to get a free copy of your credit report. If you want to know what your credit score is, you have to pay for that, but either Equifax or TransUnion, the two credit reporting agencies in Canada, would be happy to sell you that information (for $24 and $17). You can also use this tool to estimate your credit score for free. The value of this tool is you can play with the questions they ask to get an idea of how changing certain things can improve your credit score.