Tempted by a Credit Repair Company in Saint John? How to Do Better for Free
A number of companies who provide credit repair in Saint John 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 Saint John – 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.
How to Fix & Repair Bad Credit for Less Than Credit Repair Companies, Services, & Agencies
Credit repair services aim to assist people in improving their credit score. In Canada, the main way they do this is by granting credit building loans for a fee. The logic behind this is that a new loan will put positive information on someone’s credit report, demonstrating to the credit scoring system that this person can use credit wisely.
This method likely helps a good number of Canadians boost their credit score, however in our minds, it’s a much too expensive option for a lot of people. The credit building loan allows the credit repair companies to charge interest and fees for their service every month over several years. But we believe there is a better solution that is cheaper and more effective.
Why to Use a Cash Secured Credit Card to Fix, Improve or Restore Your Credit Score
The faster and better way to fix, improve, or restore your credit score, compared to a credit rebuilding loan, is by getting a cash secured credit card. The way they work is you put down as much money as you would like your credit limit to be. Some cards require as little as $250 or $400 to get you started. They then function as 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 is much easier to afford because you don’t have to create some room in your budget for a monthly loan payment and/or a service fee. You can instead use your card to pay for something that you've already included in your monthly budget: gas for your vehicle or a monthly transit pass. You can then pay off your card balance in full when you receive your bill. You don't end up spending anything extra since you were likely going to buy the gas or transit pass anyway.
- With a loan, if you get laid off, if your hours at work are reduced, if you get injured or become sick, or if your income drops and you can’t afford to make your loan payments, then your loan would be sent to collections. Your credit score would be damaged again/more and you would have more stress in your life. However, with a cash secured credit card, if you don’t use it, then you don’t have to pay anything. If your life hits some bumps in the road, your credit will continue to improve, and there won’t be any additional problems that a loan-based credit rebuilding program 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.
The credit limit on your secured card should be something reasonable that you can afford. If your income is very low, a limit of a few hundred dollars can work. However, if you can afford it, a higher limit of $1,000 to $2,500, will probably help you move your credit score up faster and higher.
Here is a government list with a lot of secured credit cards in Canada. To narrow down the list, choose your province, press the "Apply" button, and compare the cards. Here are some more cards that were missed on the government list.
If you are trying to figure out where you’re going to find the money for a cash secured card, here are some great ideas of where you can possibly get some.
What You Need to Watch Out For
To make more money off of you, some credit repair companies and agencies also promote certain debt relief programs and services. If you are struggling to pay your bills and debt payments each month or have some bad debts you need to deal with, then some sort of debt relief option may be very helpful for you. Just be aware of these three things:
- 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 are 5 basic ways to fix, improve, or restore your credit: a debt management program, an orderly payment of debts program, a debt settlement, a consumer proposal, and filing for bankruptcy. Anyone you talk to about getting help with your debts should be explaining all of these options, and what the pros and cons of each would be for you. If you get the feeling that whoever you’re talking to is pushing one particular option on you, it would likely be best to get a second opinion from someone more objective.
How to Fix, Improve or Restore Your Credit Score on Your Own for Free
Paying someone to help you rebuild or improve your credit score is not necessary. We have all of the top credit score tips that actually work right here – completely for free. Take a look. We’ll show you how you can fix your credit fast along with the most effective ways that take more time. Once you’re done with all this, we can then show you how to achieve a super high credit score. If this all seems a bit complicated, your circumstances are unique, or you’d like some personal advice and guidance, there are financial experts in your area who have experience helping people with bad debt – and their help is usually free!
Where to Get Free Personal Credit Assistance in Saint John to Fix Your Bad Credit Rating
Free Guidance & Information from Non-Profit Agencies Near You
One of Canada’s best kept secrets is that some of the most helpful experts for fixing bad credit and completely repairing credit ratings are non-profit Credit Counsellors in Saint John. They offer no cost, confidential appointments (either in-person or over the phone). If you’re having money trouble or difficulty paying your bills and debts, they are the best people to give you guidance and information about how to get back on track. Whatever you talk to them about is absolutely confidential. Don’t be embarrassed if you think your circumstances are awful. They won’t judge you. They’ve probably seen much worse. Click here to find a local non-profit credit counselling agency in your area.
How to Get Free Credit Score Repair Help in Saint John 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 seen a copy of your own credit report and want to find out what it really looks like, you can get a free copy of your credit report. It doesn’t, however, include your score. For that you’ll need to pay either Equifax or TransUnion, the two credit reporting agencies in Canada (they charge between $15 and $25). If you’re okay with just an estimate of your score, you can use this tool for free. The neat thing about this online tool is that you can change your answers to the questions and see how certain factors affect your score. This type of interactive information isn’t usually available, let alone for free, and certainly not from paid credit repair agencies.
To Sum It Up - Save Your Money, Repair & Improve Your Credit Yourself
If you are in Saint John 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.