How to Get the Best Credit Repair in St. Catharines – a Review of Your Options
There are some companies who are selling costly credit repair services in St. Catharines 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 St. Catharines 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 – Pay Less Interest & Fees to Fix or Improve Bad Credit
The goal of credit repair services is to help each of their customers improve his or her credit score. The primary way many of them do this in Canada is by providing credit building loans. The idea is that this loan will create some new good information on someone’s credit report, which shows the credit scoring system that this person is able to borrow 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.
Advantages of a Cash Secured Credit Card Versus Credit Building Loan to Improve, Restore or Fix Your 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 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’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.
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 with Debt Relief Programs & Solutions in St. Catharines
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 St. Catharines:
- 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 is always more than one way to improve, restore, or fix your credit, and when you look at debt relief options, there are as many as 5 of them depending on your province: the debt management program, orderly payment of debts program, a debt settlement, a consumer proposal, and going bankrupt. So if you're left with the impression that the person or company you are working with isn’t fully exploring all of your options with you or is promoting a particular one over the others (or isn’t even saying much about the others), then you'll probably want to get a second opinion from a professional who will be more objective in discussing the advantages and disadvantages of all your options with you.
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 Individual Credit Help in St. Catharines to Fix Your Bad Credit Rating
Free Advice and Guidance from Non-Profits in Your Area
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 St. Catharines 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 Get Free Credit Score Repair Help in St. Catharines 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.
Get a Copy of Your Credit Report for Free
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 St. Catharines 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.