Tempted by a Credit Repair Company in Nova Scotia? How to Do Better for Free
There are some companies who are selling costly credit repair services in Nova Scotia that sadly, often leave people struggling to pay more debt than they started with. Based on how much they charge for these services, it’s likely a lot of people would expect to receive a lot more value than what they actually receive. What’s also surprising is that services like this can possibly make someone’s credit worse if they are unable to make all their payments, and their new credit repair loan is sent to collections. Although this may be unnerving, here is some good news: you can repair and improve your credit score in Nova Scotia for free – and even get more one-on-one help and better advice than a good number of credit fixing companies provide. Keep on reading, and we’ll tell you how to get this.
Credit Repair Services, Companies & Agencies – There are Cheaper Options to Fix or Improve Bad Credit
The goal of credit repair companies and services is to help people improve their credit score – often claiming to be able to improve it quickly. The way many of them appear to do this in Canada is by offering credit building loans. The idea is that this loan will create some new good credit on your credit report and show the credit scoring system that credit is available to you and that you are using it 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.
Why to Use a Cash Secured Credit Card to Fix, Improve or Restore Your Credit Score
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 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 financial situation gets better, you may want to think about increasing your credit limit to somewhere between $1,000 and $2,500. This may mean that you’ll need to increase your cash security deposit but having a larger credit limit like this and not using it will boost your credit score even more.
Here's a government list of most secured credit cards in Canada. Just select your province, press the "Apply" button, and then you can compare the cards. Here's another list with some cards that the government missed on their list.
If you’re scratching your head wondering where you’re going to find the money for a cash secured card or eventually increase your cash security to over $1,000, here are whole lot of ideas to help you find the money you need.
What to Watch Out for & Be Aware of with Debt Relief Programs & Solutions in Nova Scotia
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 Nova Scotia:
- There are advantages and disadvantages with all debt relief solutions. If there weren’t, everyone would try to sign up for one. What you need to do is weigh the pros and cons for each option and see what will be best for you to live with in the long run. Also, as someone tells you about a debt relief program, watch out if they spend way too much time talking about its positive aspects. If they don’t take almost as much time to tell you about the negatives, move on and find someone who’s more objective and not trying to sell you something.
- If the company representative attempting to sell you a program is on commission, or gets a kick back from you signing an agreement or being referred to another business, they could be focusing more on their own financial interests rather than on what’s best for you. This is often true of businesses that only have a few options to offer you.
- There is always more than one way to fix, improve, or restore your credit, and when it comes to debt relief options, there are five of them in Canada (debt management program, orderly payment of debts program, debt settlement, consumer proposal, and bankruptcy). So if you get the sense that the person or company you are dealing with isn’t exploring all your options with you or is favoring one over the others (or isn’t even mentioning the others), then you may want to look for a second opinion with someone who will more objectively discuss the pros and cons of all your options with you.
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 Personal Credit Assistance in Nova Scotia to Fix Your Bad Credit Rating
Free Guidance & Information from Non-Profit Agencies Near You
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 Nova Scotia 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 Obtain Free Credit Score & Repair Help in Nova Scotia from Your Credit Union, Bank, or Mortgage Broker
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 Money & Do It Yourself - Repair, Fix or Improve Your Credit on Your Own
If you are in Nova Scotia 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.