Review All of Your Options to Get the Best Credit Repair Help in Canada
A number of companies who provide credit repair in Canada are trying to sell really expensive services that unfortunately often saddle people with more debt. They don’t provide as much value as a lot of people would expect for the price they are paying. And they possibly put someone in jeopardy of having worse credit by sending their new credit repair loan to collections if they are not able to make all their payments. While this may be unsettling, here is some good news: you can improve and repair your credit score for free in Canada – and even receive better advice and more one-on-one help than most of credit fixing companies offer. Keep on reading and we’ll show you how.
Credit Repair Services, Companies & Agencies – There are Cheaper Options to Fix or Improve Bad Credit
The goal of credit repair services is to help each of their customers improve his or her credit score. The primary way many of them do this in Canada is by providing credit building loans. The idea is that this loan will create some new good information on someone’s credit report, which shows the credit scoring system that this person is able to borrow responsibly.
This approach undoubtedly helps a fair number of people improve their score, but we think that it comes at much too steep a cost for many consumers. A credit building loan ensures that a company can charge someone interest and fees every month over many years. But there is a better, cheaper, and more effective option.
The Fastest & Cheapest Way to Fix, Improve, or Restore Your Credit Score in Canada - Use a Cash Secured Credit Card
Compared to a credit rebuilding loan, a cash secured credit card is a much quicker – and in our experience – a more effective way to improve, restore, or fix your credit score in Canada. A cash secured card requires you to deposit money as security for a card. The cash security that’s needed can be as little as $225 or $350. This card is then just like a normal credit card.
Here are four advantages of a cash secured credit card versus a credit rebuilding loan:
- A cash secured credit card can give your credit score a much faster and bigger boost than a loan as long as you don’t carry more than just a small balance on your card.
- It is a lot less expensive than most credit repair loans for two simple reasons: it only has one annual fee, and you aren't required to pay any interest or fees if you completely pay off your balance every month.
- It’s far more affordable because you don’t have to fit a credit repair company service fee and/or monthly loan payment into your budget. Instead, you simply use your card to pay for something that's already included in your budget – something like gas for your vehicle or a transit pass. You then completely pay off the card balance when you receive the bill. This doesn’t end up costing you anything extra since you were planning to purchase the gas or transit pass anyway.
- With a loan, if you get injured or become sick, if your hours at work are reduced, if you get laid off, or if your income drops and you can no longer manage to pay your monthly loan payments, then your loan would likely be sent to collections. Your credit score would again be damaged, and you'd probably experience more stress in your life. With a cash secured credit card, on the other hand, if you don’t choose to buy anything with it, then you don’t have to make a monthly payment. Even if your life hits a bumpy patch of road, your credit should still continue to grow stronger, and you shouldn't experience any of the problems that a credit rebuilding loan would likely cause.
In short, from our perspective, a cash secured credit card is a much better way to give your score a boost or rebuild your credit. You just need to make sure that when you use the card, you never miss your minimum monthly payment. If you do, the credit card company won’t take the payment from your security deposit. They'll charge you late payment fees and eventually just close your card if you don't make your payments on time.
You also don’t have to use the card much. You only need to use it once every few months to keep the card active. Also never use more than 50% of your limit on the card as this will negatively impact your credit score. We also recommend that you faithfully fully pay off the card every month and try to never carry a balance. If you do have a balance, keep it low and pay it off quickly.
As your finances improve, you may also want to consider increasing your credit limit to between $1,000 and $2,500. This may require a larger cash security deposit from you, but having more credit available to you and not using it will increase your credit score even more.
Here is a government list of a bunch of secured credit cards. Just select your province and then you can compare the cards. Here is another list with a few more cards that aren't included on the government's list.
If you’re wondering where you’re going to get the money for the cash security on a card, here are a whole bunch of ideas of places where you could possibly find the money.
What You Need to Watch Out For with Debt Relief Programs & Solutions in Canada
Various credit repair companies and agencies, in an effort to make more money from you, also promote certain debt relief programs and services. If you are having trouble paying your bills and making debt payments each month, or if you have some bad debts you need to take care of, then some sort of debt relief option may be a good idea for you. Just be conscious of these three things when looking at debt solutions in Canada:
- All debt relief options have just as many disadvantages as they have advantages. If there wasn't some sort of down side, then everyone would be enrolling in one of these. If you're looking for a debt relief option, the key is to find one with the right advantages for your situation and disadvantages that you can live with. Watch out for anyone promoting a debt relief program who focuses too much on the positive aspects of their program and doesn’t fully inform you of the negative consequences of their program.
- If the employee trying to sell you a program earns commissions or receives a financial benefit from you signing up for it, then they may be putting their own financial interests ahead of yours. The fewer options a company offers, the more often this will be true.
- In Canada, there is always more than one way to improve, restore, or fix your credit, and when you look at debt relief options, there are as many as 5 of them depending on your province: the debt management program, orderly payment of debts program, a debt settlement, a consumer proposal, and going bankrupt. So if you're left with the impression that the person or company you are working with isn’t fully exploring all of your options with you or is promoting a particular one over the others (or isn’t even saying much about the others), then you'll probably want to get a second opinion from a professional who will be more objective in discussing the advantages and disadvantages of all your options with you.
Tips to Fix, Improve or Restore Your Credit Score – Do It On Your Own for Free
It's not necessary to pay anyone on a regular basis just to help you restore or improve your credit score. We have all of the best credit score tips that really work right here – for free. Check them out. We’ll show you how you can repair your credit as quickly as possible along with the most effective methods that take a bit more time. In addition to this, we can also show you what's needed to get an amazingly high credit score. If all of this seems a bit much for you, if you have a complicated situation, or if you’d like some individual help and guidance, there are financial experts located close by you who have expertise in assisting people with bad debt – and they’ll usually help you for free!
Where to Get Free One-On-One Credit Help Anywhere in Canada to Fix Your Credit Rating
Free Help and Guidance from Local Non-Profits
A lot of people aren't aware of this, but some of the most helpful experts on fixing bad credit situations and totally repairing credit ratings are non-profit Credit Counsellors in Canada who offer free, confidential appointments (either over the phone or in person). If you have debts you are having trouble paying or are experiencing financial difficulty, they are the best people to go over your situation with you. Anything you discuss with them is completely confidential. Don’t worry if your situation is really bad. They’ve likely seen far worse, and they are non-judgmental in how they help. Follow this link to locate a non-profit credit counselling service near you.
How to Get Free Credit Score Repair Help in Canada from Your Bank or Credit Union
To find out about your credit rating, it’s worth asking the lender at your bank or credit union. Maybe you applied for a loan and were declined. Don’t be ashamed; instead, use it as a chance to find out what you can do to get your finances back under control. When a lender turns you down for a loan, line of credit, overdraft, or something else you applied for, they can tell you why. Inquire about anything that isn’t clear. Then ask them to outline what you can do to raise your credit score and credit rating. A mortgage broker can also answer these questions if you applied for a mortgage.
Get a Copy of Your Credit Report for Free
If you have never seen your credit report and are curious to find out how bad things really are, you can obtain a free copy of your credit report by following these steps. To get your credit score, you’ll have to pay a fee of about $15 - $30 to either Equifax or TransUnion, the two credit reporting agencies in Canada. This tool can estimate your credit score for free. This tool also lets you adjust your answers to the questions they ask, giving you an idea of how changing certain things can increase your score. This kind of specific feedback is hard to get anywhere else, and certainly not from paid credit repair companies, if you can find it at all – and it’s available to you for free.
To Sum It Up - Save Your Money, Repair & Improve Your Credit Yourself
If you live in Canada and are seriously considering finding a credit repair company to assist you with improving or repairing your credit, we honestly believe that you’d be much better off doing it yourself. Start by getting a copy of your credit report – the free one should do for now (if you really want to know your score or have a baseline to measure your progress from, then go ahead and pay to get your credit score). Talk to your banker or a certified credit counsellor for some guidance. Think about applying for a cash secured card if they recommend it, and follow the suggestions we’ve outlined above along with in the guidance provided on the websites we link to on this page. Repairing your credit takes time and diligence, but by using the information we give you here, you’ll save a ton of money and your credit rating will be on its way up as quickly as possible.