How to Get the Best Credit Repair in Ottawa – a Review of Your Options
Some credit repair companies in Ottawa 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 Ottawa 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.
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.
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 Ottawa - Use a Cash Secured Credit Card
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’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.
In short, a cash secured credit card is a far better way to rebuild your credit or give your score a boost. Just make sure that when you use it, you always make at least your minimum monthly payments. If you miss a payment, the credit card company won’t take the monthly payment from your cash secured balance. You will still need to make it and not making the payment will hurt your credit. If you miss a number of payments, the credit card company will close your card and give you your cash security back after deducting any money you owe them.
Another great advantage of a cash secured credit card is that you don’t have to use it much. All you need to do is use it once every few months or so to keep the card active and never use more than 50% of your credit limit (doing this will negatively impact your credit). We would also recommend that you always pay off the card balance in full every month and never carry a balance.
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 Ottawa
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:
- 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.
Tips to Fix, Improve or Restore Your Credit Score – Do It 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 One-On-One Credit Help Anywhere in Canada to Fix Your Credit Rating
Free Help and Guidance from Local Non-Profits
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 Ottawa. 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 Obtain Free Credit Score & Repair Help in Ottawa 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.
How to 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
So if you live in Canada and are seriously thinking about finding a credit repair company to help you repair or improve your credit, we think you’d be far better off doing it yourself. Get a free copy of your credit report (and your score if that’s important to you right now). Speak with your banker or a credit counsellor for guidance. Consider getting a cash secured credit card if your banker or credit counsellor recommends it. And follow the suggestions we’ve laid out here as well as the guidance provided in the resources we link to from this page. Credit repair ultimately takes time and patience, but by taking advantage of the resources we point out here, your credit should be re-established and improved as quickly as is possible and you’ll save a lot of money in the process.