Review All of Your Options to Get the Best Credit Repair Help in Alberta
Some credit repair companies in Alberta are trying to sell expensive services that often saddle people with more debt and don't provide many with the value they'd expect to receive. On top of this, when some people aren't able to make the payments on their new credit repair loan, the credit repair company can send the loan to collections which puts these people in jeopardy of having worse credit than when they signed up for the program. While this may be unsettling, there is some good news. In Alberta you can repair and improve your credit for free – and often get better advice and more one-on-one help than a lot of credit fixing companies provide. Keep reading and we’ll show you how to do this.
Credit Repair Services, Companies & Agencies – Pay Less Interest & Fees 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.
While this approach no doubt helps a fair number of people improve their credit score, in our opinion, these companies don’t offer it because it’s the best way to fix or repair bad credit. They offer the loan because it's the most lucrative for them. A credit building loan ensures they can charge you interest and fees over several years. But you need to know something: there is a better, cheaper, and more effective way to improve your credit.
Advantages of a Cash Secured Credit Card Versus Credit Building Loan to Improve, Restore or Fix Your Score
In Alberta, a cash secured credit card can be a much better and faster way to fix, improve, or restore your credit score compared to a credit rebuilding loan. A cash secured card requires you to put up some money as security for the credit card. The cash security required can be as little as $200 or $300. This credit card then functions as a completely 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 way more affordable because you don’t have to make room in your budget for a monthly loan payment and/or a credit repair company service fee. Instead you just use your card to pay for something that is already in your budget – like gas or your transit pass – and then pay off the card balance in full at the end of the month. This doesn’t cost you anything extra if you were going to buy the gas or transit pass anyway.
- If your income drops and you can’t afford to make your loan payments, your loan would be sent to collections, your credit score would be further damaged, and you would have more stress in your life. With a cash secured credit card, if you don’t use it, then you don’t have to pay anything. If you get laid off, you work less hours, you get injured or you become sick, your credit won’t be impacted right away, and there won’t be any additional problems that missing loan payments could cause.
The bottom line, from our perspective, is that a cash secured credit card is a much better way of giving your credit score a boost and rebuilding your credit. The thing to remember with a cash secured credit card is that you always need to make at least your minimum monthly payment. If you miss a few months of payments, the credit card company will take money from your deposit, pay off what you owe, return any money left over, and then cancel the account. This will show up negatively on your credit report.
Most people think that you have to use a credit card a lot for it to help your rating. That’s not true. It’s okay to use it once every few months for a purchase that doesn’t use more than 50% of your credit limit. Then when the bill comes – and it’s important to wait for it – you pay it off in full.
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 Alberta
Some credit repair agencies will try to promote specific debt relief services and programs to you. Credit repair companies want to earn money, and while there’s technically nothing wrong with a company wanting to earn as much as possible, how they go about doing this is important. If you have bad debts you’re having difficulty paying, a debt relief option might be a good solution for you. So to help you figure out what debt solution in Alberta might be best for you, here are three things to be aware of:
- Every debt relief option (there are 5 of them in Canada) has as many disadvantages as it has advantages. If they didn’t, then everyone would be signing up for one of these programs. The key is to find the debt relief option with the right advantages for you and disadvantages that you can live with. Beware of anyone who pitches a debt relief program to you and focuses too much on the positives and doesn’t spend much time making you aware of the negative aspects of the program.
- If the person trying to sell you a program earns commission off of you signing up for the program, then they may have their financial best interests at heart and not yours. The fewer options their 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.
How to Fix, Improve or Restore Your Credit Score on Your Own for Free
You don’t need to pay anyone on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis to help you improve or restore your credit score. We have all of the essential credit score 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 which do, however, take more time. After you’ve done all this, we can then show you how to get an extremely high credit score. If all this isn’t enough for you, if your situation is complex, or if you’d like some specific help and guidance, there are financial experts near you who have expertise in helping people with bad debt – and they’ll typically help you for free!
Where to Get Free Individual Credit Help in Alberta to Fix Your Bad Credit Rating
Free Advice and Guidance from Non-Profits in Your Area
A lot of people don’t know this, but some of Canada’s most helpful experts on fixing bad credit situations and completely repairing credit ratings are non-profit Credit Counsellors who offer free appointments (either over the phone or in person) in communities across Canada - including Alberta. 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 don’t worry if your situation is really bad. They’ve likely seen far worse. They're not going to make you feel bad or judge you. They are simply there to help people. Click here to find a local non-profit credit counselling service near you.
How to Get Free Credit Repair Advice 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 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'll 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 added value of this tool is that you can play with the questions they ask to get an idea of how changing certain things can improve your credit score. You’re unlikely to get this kind of specific feedback from anywhere else – not even from paid credit repair agencies – and it’s available to you for free.
Save Your Money, Fix or Do Your Credit Repair Yourself – That’s What it Comes Down To
If you are in Alberta and really are planning to find a credit repair service to help you improve or repair your credit, we truly believe that you would come out ahead if you do it yourself. To begin with, get a free copy of your credit report (only order your score if you really need it because it changes often). Then speak with your banker or a credit counsellor for information and advice. Seriously consider applying for a cash secured credit card if they believe it would help your situation. Finally, follow the suggestions we explain above, as well as what is in the information provided in the resources we link to. Fixing your credit takes time and care to do the right things. Work through what we explain above; not only will you save a lot of money, your credit rating should be rebuilt as quickly as possible.