Tempted by a Credit Repair Company in Ontario? How to Do Better for Free
There are some companies who are selling costly credit repair services in Ontario 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 Ontario 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.
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
In Ontario, 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 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 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 You Need to Watch Out For with Debt Relief Programs & Solutions in Ontario
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 Ontario might be best for you, here are three things to be aware of:
- 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.
- 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.
Tips to Fix, Improve or Restore Your Credit Score – Do It 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 Ontario to Fix Your Bad Credit Rating
Free Guidance & Information from Non-Profit Agencies Near You
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 Ontario. 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 Score Repair Help in Ontario 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.
How to Get a Free Copy of Your Credit Report
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.
Save Your Money, Fix or Do Your Credit Repair Yourself – That’s What it Comes Down To
If you live in Ontario 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.