📅 Last Updated: September 29, 2021
✏️ Written By Kale Havervold
🕵️ Fact-Checked by Caitlin Wood

When it comes to debt in Saskatchewan, the statistics tell two different tales. On one hand, Saskatchewan has the highest percentage of debt-free families in the entire country, with over 32% of households being completely debt free. This means that about a third of families in Saskatchewan have no debts to deal with. They can save and spend freely, without worry.

On the other hand, those with debt in Saskatchewan have a lot of it and often struggle with it. Saskatchewan has the worst delinquency rates in the country and has higher-than-average non-mortgage debts. As a result, there are many people out there struggling with debt in the province. Whether they have too much debt or simply can’t pay off the debts they have, lots of people could use some help.

While many people try to take care of their debts on their own without any help, there are options out there, with one of the most popular being credit counselling. With that in mind, we will take a close look at credit counselling in Saskatchewan and see if it’s the right fit for you.

For some helpful information about loans, credit, mortgages, and financing in Saskatoon, click here.

What is Credit Counselling and How Does it Work?

Before going any further, it is important to understand what credit counselling is and how it works. A credit counselling service is one that will help you alleviate your debts through education, budgeting, and personalized financial advice. While it doesn’t get rid of your debts automatically, it will give you the skills and tools necessary to learn how to deal with your debt and hopefully never get stuck in a mountain of it ever again. You will work with professionals over a long period of time and will eventually be armed with all the education you need to be financially healthy.

So how does it work? Well, you will first need to find a credit counselling agency, reach out to them and see what programs they have available. Once you have chosen an agency, you will begin to receive consultation from a trained professional, who will work with you and show you ways to reduce, and eventually get rid of it. In addition to that, credit counselling agencies can help negotiate with creditors, assist with debt consolidation, and come up with a suitable debt repayment plan with you.

The True Cost of BorrowingDo you know what the true cost of borrowing is? Find out here.

Reasons Why People Might Need Credit Counselling in Saskatchewan

Now that you are aware of how credit counselling in Saskatchewan works, what are the main reasons people need it? The reasoning can be a wide range of different things and there is no specific situation you need to be in to seek out the help of a credit counselling service. Some people might feel their spending is out of control and want some help there, while others may simply not know how to budget effectively. Some people simply might have taken on more debt than their income can handle. No matter what financial or debt related issue you have come across in your life, it is never a bad idea to consider credit counselling if you feel that you could use some assistance. The choice is yours whether you feel credit counselling is right for you or not.

Do you have a low income? Read this to learn how you can get out of debt fast.

Also, anyone who files for bankruptcy will have to attend credit counselling sessions. With Saskatchewan’s largest debt-related problems being making payments on time and accumulating too much non-mortgage debt, those are likely the areas that most Saskatchewan residents will seek help via credit counselling for.

What to Look for in a Credit Counselling Agency?

So if you decide that credit counselling is something you want to consider to help with your debt problems, the next step is to find a credit counselling agency that you want to work with. But how do you choose? Well, the most important thing to do is research. The internet has tons of reviews and ratings. Even your friends and family members might be able to make some recommendations. If a place has several bad reviews or you hear bad things, you might want to look elsewhere. Simply look up the various credit counselling services in your area and see what you can find out about them, whether good or bad, and you can decide based on that.

Also, most credit counselling services will require you to pay for their services, except for a few that are low or no fee. As a result, you will also have to consider the price of the agency when deciding which one to work with. Of course, you also want to ensure the place has a good reputation and the professionals working there are qualified and knowledgeable, so make sure to pay a couple of different places a visit to ensure you make the right choice for your unique needs.

Want to know how long credit counselling takes? Find out here.

Advantages of Working with a Credit Counselling Agency

While you can educate yourself online or simply tackle your debts the old fashioned way, there are some distinct advantages to working with a credit counselling agency. Perhaps the biggest advantage is the fact that you get to consult and work closely with an expert who is trained and qualified to help you eliminate your debts and change your financial health. They will know what steps you should take and provide you with advice that will help your finances as a whole, not just your debts.

Another great advantage of working with a credit counselling agency is that they push you to “keep with it”. Everyone says they are going to work hard to get out of debt and budget intelligently, but very few people decide to stick with it. Being with a counselling agency means you will be held accountable to hold up your end of the bargain.

Lastly, going with a credit counselling agency will grant you access to options that you might not know how to access on your own. For example, these agencies can help you to negotiate with creditors, work out a debt consolidation plan and even come up with the best plan for efficiently and correctly alleviating your debts.

Sure, these can all be done without an agency, but can often be very confusing, and it is beneficial to have an expert on your side that can help make sure you are making the best financial decision for your situation. Ultimately, however, is up to you to decide whether the benefits of a credit counselling service are worth the financial costs.

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What to Expect From Credit Counselling in Saskatchewan?

This whole idea of debt and credit counselling can be intimidating. However, you have nothing to worry about. You should expect to meet with a professional credit counsellor who will be completely respectful of you and your financial situation. They will ask you about your income, your spending, financial goals, and your debts. It can often be easier if you write down/bring all of that to the first meeting so they can have it all in front of them.

They will always respect your privacy and treat your situation with courtesy throughout your interactions. They will also help you explore all options and treat the situation as objectively as possible. Following your first session, the counsellor will come up with a plan of attack for your debt. Afterward, the two of you will meet periodically to speak about the process and any hiccups you might have experienced. Credit counsellors aren’t miracle workers, so you still need to put in the work if you want to get out of debt, but they can definitely be a big help.

Here’s how you should handle your first credit counselling session in Saskatchewan.

Credit Counselling vs. Debt Settlement

While credit counselling in Saskatchewan is a great debt relief option, it is not the only one you have at your disposal. There are many others you can consider, one of which being debt settlement. Debt settlement is different from credit counselling in that your overall principal is reduced as you “settle” the debt for less than you had originally owed. Debt settlement is often for those who owe more money and simply cannot get out of debt. However, credit counselling is generally appropriate for those who are in debt, but that debt isn’t insurmountable and they just need a little bit of help.

How does debt settlement affect your credit? Read this to find out.

Also, the fees and processes with each option are different. While the choice is yours, credit counselling in Saskatchewan is often better for those who have smaller debts, want to become more educated and just need a little help, while debt settlement is often for those who have a lot of debt and simply feel they will never be able to escape it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I stop getting collections calls if I’m in a credit counselling program?

Not necessarily. It’s only illegal for debt collectors to contact you if you’re in bankruptcy or a consumer proposal. Those are legally binding, whereas a credit counselling program is not. However, creditors are usually willing to abide by a credit counselling agreement provided you stay in good standing.

How can I find certified credit counselling?

Most trustworthy credit counselling services are listed with the following associations: Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services (CACCS), Credit Counselling Canada (CCC), and the Canadian Association of Independent Credit Counselling Agencies (CAICCA). By choosing a service from one of these associations, you ensure that you’ll be dealing with an accredited and reputable organization.

Will credit counselling affect my credit?

Yes, it will lower your credit rating, but not as much as a consumer proposal or bankruptcy. Debts covered under credit counselling and consumer proposals get a rating of R7 or I7. However, those ratings stay in your file for only 2 years with credit counselling as opposed to 3 years with consumer proposals. Bankruptcy debts will get a worse rating of R9 or I9 and last for 7 years the first time, and 14 years for subsequent bankruptcies.

The Credit Help You Need in Saskatchewan

If you’re currently struggling with credit or debt problems in Saskatchewan and are interested in what your options are, Loans Canada can help match you with the right solution based on your unique needs. Submit an application today.

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