Helpful Things to Know About Debt Consolidation and Credit Counselling
Future & Estate Planning
Doing It My Way: How to Organize Your Affairs, Clarify your Wishes and Leave a Lasting Legacy
By Margaret H. Johnson
When my dad passed away very suddenly, his financial affairs were well organized, but we didn’t know what any of his last personal wishes were. My mom, siblings and I had to make difficult decisions, not knowing what he truly would have wanted us to do. All that stress was compounded by our grief.
After that experience I realized I needed to organize my own affairs and clarify my wishes. And I wondered, how many others are in the same situation as me -- not having a guide for their loved ones and worrying how they would sort it all out?
Credit Rating 101
We have collected information from both of the consumer reporting agencies (credit bureaus), as well as our own research to try to provide a full picture on credit files and credit scores, including those little known “insider” secrets.
Topics at a glance:
- What information is kept on my credit file?
- How long is information kept on my file?
- What is a credit “score”?
- How can my credit score affect my life?
- What factors affect my credit score?
- How do I raise my credit score?
What is a payday loan?
A payday loan, or payday advance, is a short-term loan of usually 14 days, which you promise to pay back, plus fees, after you receive your next paycheque. The loan is often between 30-50% of the amount of your paycheque.
To qualify for a payday loan, you must provide proof that you have a regular income, a permanent address and a bank account. You will have to sign a loan agreement which states the loan interest, fees, and due date. Most of the time you will need to provide a post-dated cheque for the full loan amount including all fees and interest, or sign a form for a pre-authorized debit of your account on the loan due date.
How much do payday loans cost?
Did You Know?
You can and should order your credit report at least once per year. You can correct any errors, check for identity fraud, and know what your creditors know about you. There are two separate credit reporting agencies in Canada, Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada, and each may have different information about you in their files, so we recommend you order your credit report from both agencies at least once per year (ordering your own report will not reduce your credit score or affect your report). A good idea is to order from one agency first and the second six months later in order to space your reports out and allow you to detect any problems sooner.
Your credit report is free if you request it by mail, fax, telephone, or in person and receive it by mail or in person. If you prefer to access it quickly online you will have to pay a fee. Your free report will not include your credit score, a 3-digit number that is calculated from your credit activity however, you can purchase your credit score if you prefer. See the credit agency websites for contact information and request your credit report today: TransUnion Canada and Equifax Canada.
At least one of Canada’s Chartered Banks has inserted a provision in their personal banking agreements which reads: "(Bank) may apply for funds in any of your accounts (including joint accounts) against any liability owed to (bank) or its affiliates without prior notice." This provision is perhaps legally questionable, as if one party to a joint account owes money to the bank, and the other party makes deposits to the joint bank account; one would query the right of the bank to in effect attach the funds of one for the debt of another. The ethics of this provision, of course, is a whole other question.
Debt Settlement Alert
We at Solutions Credit Counselling work only for our client – You. We do everything we can to save you money.
The purpose of this article is to advise our clients and the public regarding the differences between a Canadian Independent Debt Consolidation and Credit Counselling Agency such as Solutions, and an American Debt Settlement company. Remember, with respect to Debt Settlement companies: “If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is”.
Canada has recently been inundated with American companies, offering “Debt Settlement” services. These questionable “Debt Reduction” operations have been investigated by the U.S. government and recent US legislative changes have forced “Debt Settlement” companies to cease operations in the US. However, many of these “Debt Settlement” companies are now targeting Canadian consumers with false claims of their ability to reduce debt by 40-80% in a short period of time and many Canadians are being lulled into believing these claims.