The Canadian economy has slowed down, and many people who call themselves advocates for debtors have taken notice. While these companies claim to advocate for those in debt, their first priority is to make money. Some of these for-profit companies help a lot of people while others seem to be doing a good job of helping themselves. The sad thing is that many people aren’t aware that a lot of non-profit credit counselling organizations have been offering exceptional services for decades. In some cases people seem to be more aware of for-profit debt consolidation companies because of their heavy advertising.
Advantages of working with most non-profit credit counselling services include:
- Objective Counsellors who are not paid on commission and explore all your options
- Trust and cooperation of all creditors
- Impeccable track records with no Better Business Bureau (BBB) complaints
- Organizations that are transparent and accountable
- Lower fees and interest rates for Debt Management Programs.
Jump to a Section on This Page:
Counsellors at non-profit consumer credit counselling services do not work on commission. They don’t receive bonuses or incentives to push products or services. Consequently, they can focus on finding the right solution for every one of their clients. This is regardless of whether their agency offers the best solution or someone else does. The important thing is being objective and always doing what is right for the consumer – not what is in the agency’s or the advisor's best financial interest.
The Counsellors of most non-profit credit counselling agencies also spend time helping every one of their clients create a personal or family budget before suggesting any debt “solution”. Unfortunately, not all for-profit credit counselling companies do a good job of this.
This step is vitally important because without doing this it is impossible for a Counsellor to know which debt options will really work out best for their client.
All creditors work with non-profit credit counselling services. While many companies claim they can advocate and negotiate on a debtor's behalf, many creditors often refuse to work with for-profit credit counselling companies.
Because the vast majority of non-profit credit counselling organizations have established strong reputations, creditors tend to trust them and are often eager to work with them to get their customers back on track. When it comes to advocating for debtors, nothing beats trust.
Leading non-profit agencies also trend to attract very experienced employees from the credit industry who are looking to use their experience to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives.
Next to earning the trust of the credit industry, the next best measure of success is the referrals an agency receives along with their track record.
Most non-profit credit and debt counselling agencies receive a substantial portion of their new clients purely from referrals. A recent non-profit credit counselling agency survey shows how satisfied clients were with the service that they have received. Feedback was confirmed from Credit Counselling Canada, Canada's national professional credit counselling association. It was reported that up to 98% of their clients say they would recommend the agency’s services to others.
Professionals, government agencies, community and business organizations, and even a large number of creditors refer tens of thousands of people to Canadian non-profits every year.
Most non-profit credit counselling organizations have exemplary track records. Many of them have served hundreds of thousands of Canadians for a decade or even longer without ever receiving a single complaint from the Better Business Bureau.
Most non-profits do not advertise their internal standards that they commit to live by, but they abide by the highest standards in the debt relief and credit counselling industry. In fact, they offer unparalleled debt relief and credit counselling services among any for-profit companies or Canadian debtors associations.
All non-profits are registered charitable societies and are accountable to the Canada Revenue Agency.
All reputable non-profits are accredited members of one of two professional credit counselling associations (membership in these organizations helps to protect consumers by ensuring accountability and national standards):
Most non-profits are also accredited members of the Better Business Bureau, and in good standing.
Non-profit credit counselling services typically offer excellent service for only a fraction of the price that for-profit agencies charge consumers. The reason that non-profits can do this because they are supported by the credit granting community. Credit cards create opportunities for people to incur substantial amounts of debt. For this reason, credit card companies should play a role in funding and supporting these organizations. Non-profit credit counselling organizations help people resolve their credit card debt and get their finances back on track.
If it makes sense for one of their customers to go onto a non-profit Debt Management Program, creditors will usually either reduce their customer’s interest rate to zero or substantially reduce it. This allows the non-profit Debt Management Program to help someone repay all of their credit card debts within 5 years (3.5 years on average). This is something that for-profit credit counselling companies can't do, and they often recommend a debt settlement service, which may not be the best for everyone.
Creditors also support non-profits with donations to fund their activities. This is important because most non-profits help around 80% of the people who seek their help for free.
Canada’s two credit reporting agencies (Equifax & TransUnion) also allow non-profit credit counselling agencies to erase the records of bad debts. This can happen once the debts are paid off two years after their Debt Management Program or Debt Settlement Program is completed by a client.
The staff of many non-profit agencies often have very good relationships with the staff of major creditors.
The trust that is built through these relationships gives the staff of non-profits the opportunity to strongly advocate for debtors and ensure that the creditor cooperates with the non-profit agency so that a solution can be reached that is in the best interest of the debtor.
Many non-profit credit counselling organizations have good relationships with not only creditors but also consumer protection authorities, government agencies and the media. Many agencies work tirelessly to promote education, policies and actions that will help and benefit consumers who need help with their debts.
While some for-profit credit counselling agencies can be good advocates for debtors, we believe that most non-profit credit counselling agencies are often a better choice. Before settling on any agency, you should do a little digging and satisfy yourself that you are working with the best agency.
- Better Business Bureau and see how many complaints an agency has – even call up the Better Business Bureau and ask them who they would suggest.
- You can also check with your creditors and see if they work with the agency that you are considering dealing with. Ask them who they would recommend.
- Find out what kind of fees you are going to be charged if you decide to go onto some sort of program, and make sure that you are comfortable with the whole arrangement.
- Call our list of advocates for debtors and arrange an appointment for more information.
- List of Credit Counselling Organizations in Canada
- Canadian Debt Settlement
- Bankruptcy Myths & Laws
- Avoid Garnishment Lawyer-Pay off Taxes
- Fix Credit & Avoid Judgement from Collection Agency
- Gail Vaz-Oxlade Discusses How to Identify the Best & Worst Free Non Profit Credit Counselling Services | Toronto Radio Show