How to Get the Best Credit Repair in St. John's – a Review of Your Options
Some credit repair companies in St. John's 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 St. John's 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
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.
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.
The Fastest & Cheapest Way to Fix, Improve, or Restore Your Credit Score in St. John's - Use a Cash Secured Credit Card
In St. John's, 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 the advantages of a cash secured credit card compared to a credit rebuilding loan:
- The cash secured credit card can provide a much quicker and greater boost to your credit than a loan.
- It is far cheaper than most credit repair loans because it only has one annual fee, and you don’t have to pay any interest costs or fees if you pay off your balance in full 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.
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 to Watch Out for & Be Aware of with Debt Relief Programs & Solutions in St. John's
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 St. John's 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 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.
Top Credit Score Tips to Improve, Restore, or Fix Your Credit – How to Do It Yourself 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 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 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 St. John's. 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
The lender at your bank or credit union is a good person to ask about your credit rating. You might have applied for a loan and been turned down. Don’t be embarrassed, but use it as an opportunity to learn what you can do to get your finances back on track. When a lender declines you for a loan, line of credit, overdraft, or something else you applied for, they can tell you why. Ask them to explain anything you don’t understand. Then ask them what you can do, very specifically, to improve your credit score and credit rating. If you’ve applied for a mortgage, ask your mortgage broker these same questions.
How to 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 live in St. John's 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.