Your debts are getting out of control
You know the situation is serious and you need some professional help to accomplish your goals. It is time to prioritise paying off your debts so you can build a better future.
Watch out for high-pressure sales tactics, unrealistic promises, high fees, delayed payments and those encouraging you to take out a high-interest loan. Be suspicious of offers to help you improve your credit rating.
What you need to know when getting help to pay off debt or repair your credit.
Talk to a financial professional
A reputable credit counsellor or other financial professional can explain all of your options and help you choose the one that makes the most sense. A first meeting with a credit counsellor, or other financial professional, is confidential, objective, and usually free.
Does this option sound right for you? Tips for finding a trustworthy financial professional.
Talk to your creditors
Talking directly with your creditors can be intimidating, but remember, it is in their best interest to help you find a way to pay off your debts. If you are having difficulty making minimum payments on a line of credit or a credit card, it is always worth trying to talk directly to your creditors. Most credit issuers in Canada have programs that can grant you a payment break or lower your minimum payments. Make sure that you fully understand the impact of any agreements you make with your creditors.
Consider consolidating your debts
You can simplify your debt payments by combining all of your debts and transferring them to a single creditor—in most cases, your bank. Instead of paying off multiple creditors, you will then only have to pay off one. This option could reduce the amount you pay if the interest rates and terms of a consolidation loan from your bank are better than those of the individual creditors.
Debt settlement companies may not offer the best rates in their consolidation offers. Shop around for the best rate.
Orderly Payment of Debts (Alberta only)
If you are a resident of Alberta, you can voluntarily seek out a legal proceeding called a consolidation order (also known as an orderly payment of debt (OPD)) to help you make your payments. With a consolidation order, the provincial court combines all your debts into one and determines the amount that you must pay to the court periodically. The court will then ensure that payments are made to your creditors on your behalf.
Voluntary Deposit Service (Quebec only)
If you are a resident of Quebec, you can register at the nearest courthouse for the province’s Voluntary Deposit Service.
Under this program, you deposit money with the court monthly. The size of these payments is based on your income and number of dependents. The court then distributes the money to your creditors.
Debt Management Plans (DMP)
A financial professional, or your creditors, might suggest a Debt Management Plan (DMP). A DMP is an agreement with some or all of your creditors that often includes interest relief and the payment of your debts over time. You are under no obligation to agree. Before agreeing to a DMP, be sure you understand what the full financial impact will be on you.
Is your situation more serious, and you feel like there is no way for you to get your debts under control? Explore other options.
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