Credit Score 101 – A Refresher Course

We all know that we need to be careful with credit – because it’s easy to borrow money, and wind up owing as much, or more than we can pay. We all know what it feels like when there’s “too much month left at the end of the money”.

And there’s this vague fear of a negative impact on our credit history that can affect us in the future. The more we know about credit reporting, the more we can work to improve the way potential lenders see us, and then we can leverage a good report to get favourable terms when we borrow money.

What is a Credit Score?
In Canada, a credit score is assigned by one of the two large credit reporting agencies – Equifax or TransUnion. The score is a number between 300 and 900 (900 being perfect) that represents Credit-Report-illustrationthe aggregate of all of the information that the bureau has on file about us. Most interactions that you have with lenders, either positive (payments made on time) or negative (late payments, collections, bankruptcy) will affect our score. Anyone who has ever accessed any form of credit has a file with the credit bureaus. Potential lenders use your credit score, with your permission, to determine whether or not you qualify for credit, and sometimes they use it to set the terms of borrowing (interest rates, etc.).

Who Can Access My Credit Report?
Any lender can provide information about your loan, payments, etc. to the credit bureaus. You give them permission to do so in the agreement you sign when you begin to access credit with them. Any potential lender with your permission (usually in the application) can access your report and score. You can (and should) access your own credit report with both bureaus. Make sure that all of the information that they have on file is accurate.

By knowing your own credit score, you can demonstrate to potential lenders that you are a responsible borrower. You may be able to negotiate more favourable terms as a result.

If you’ve got questions about credit, or have found yourself in some trouble, contact Creditaid anytime online or by telephone at (204) 987-6890 or (877) 900-2659. We can help you take those important first steps toward a debt free life.

Has Society Become Desensitized to Spending?


Good question. Certainly, not everyone has, but spiraling levels of consumer debt have risen to record levels, indicating that Canadians are spending more money that they don’t have at an alarming rate.

Statistics Canada has released figures for the third quarter of 2014 indicating that Canadian household total credit-market debt, which consists of mortgages, consumer credit (mostly credit cards) and non-mortgage loans rose to 162.6 percent of disposable income. The Bank of Canada has stated that “high consumer debt loads and imbalances in the housing market” are a concern.

In short, people are using credit more today than ever before.

Two generations ago, very few people used credit. Society was based on a “cash on the barrelhead” philosophy that encouraged living within one’s means. This standpoint has been slowly eroded by rising home ownership costs (it is virtually impossible to purchase a home without a mortgage, and the length of time that the average family spends paying for their home gets steadily longer), the availability of consumer credit, and the replacement of “hard” currency with cheques, credit cards, and digital wallets.

It’s easier to access credit today than ever before, and advertising inundates us with constant messages promoting consumption of high-value items, usually on payments. It’s no wonder that people wind up in trouble with credit cards, loans, and lines of credit.

Creditaid exists to help people who have used credit improperly, or have been faced with unforeseen circumstances, and are having trouble dealing with their debt. We offer a free initial credit counselling review with professionals who can advise you on how to best manage and repay your debts. We’ll work with you in a judgment-free manner to develop solutions for your specific situation. We have a number of tools available to help you deal with your creditors, including debt consolidation and debt management solutions. If you’re feeling the pressure of collections, call Creditaid for help today.

Will Credit Counselling Hurt My Credit Score?

Credit-Report-illustrationCredit counselling in and of itself is confidential, and will have no effect on your credit score.
Some of the actions that you might take on the advice of a credit counselor could affect it negatively, but chances are, if you’re in the market for credit counselling, your credit score already exhibits some problems.

At Creditaid, we understand that the initial effort required to come in for counselling is immense. While we offer a judgment-free environment, we know the pressure that the credit industry puts on people to maintain a good “score”. Banks and credit card companies talk about it like it’s a measure of a person’s value. We know it’s not – it’s just a tool that lenders use to evaluate the level of risk that an individual exposes them to when they lend them money.

Many of our clients access one or more of the debt relief tools we have at our disposal. A Debt Consolidation or Debt Management Program will be reflected on your Credit Bureau report, and can affect your credit score negatively, both while the program is in place and for a time afterward. Since both require you to forego obtaining new credit while enrolled, this won’t be an issue until after the program is complete, and you are out of debt.

You will be surprised at the number of lenders who will still be willing to issue credit, even with a lower score. You will also have new tools, knowledge, and insight, so you’ll likely resist their tempting offers of easy money.

Creditaid has partnered with Home Trust, a federally regulated trust company that has been specializing in helping Canadians find alternative financial solutions for over 35 years. We can help you rebuild your credit with a Secured Visa card.

We have also partnered with Keystone Finance, a local financial solutions provider that has helped clients and their families live better lives for over 30 years.

If you’re finding that there’s not enough money to meet your monthly debt load, and fear that it’s spiraling out of control, contact Creditaid today. For anyone who’s ever experienced credit trouble, there’s no better feeling than being debt free.

Do you worry when the phone rings?

Do you toss and turn at night, worry every time the phone rings or hesitate to check the mail for fear of seeing more bills? It’s time you start living your life again. Call us today.

Don’t Let Your Debt Problems Become a Full Blown Crisis

Loan payments in arrears, creditors calling and angry letters in the mail – does this sound like a familiar situation? When you are experiencing debt problems, it can feel like you are descending into a downward spiral at full speed as finance charges, interest and penalties keep adding up. Before you hit rock bottom, know that you are not alone. Many Winnipeg families are also feeling the full impact of the economic downturn.

If you feel you are in that place now or want to bring you debt problems under control before they become a full-blown financial crisis, Creditaid can help. Our credit counsellors are compassionate and caring individuals who are dedicated to helping you build financial stability and security. We work closely with you to develop a solution that works for you – one that complements your lifestyle while letting you achieve the goals you have in mind. We have successfully helped many Winnipeg families and individuals overcome their debt problems. With careful planning, commitment and discipline, you too can achieve financial freedom, no matter how serious your situation is now.

Your initial consultation with Creditaid is always free. Let us help you get back on track – contact us today to get the help you need.