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4Pillars Consulting Group is a Canadian owned company that has been providing debt relief services since 2002. They have more than 60 offices across Canada and have helped their clients reduce 80% of their debt. They help Canadians manage their debt by providing educational advice and financial reconstruction. Besides offering debt-relief services, 4Pillars is dedicated to educating consumers about debt, debt solutions, and building credit.
What Kinds of Consumers Does 4Pillars Accept?
A 4Pillars credit counsellor can help you find relief from almost any kind of debt, including credit card bills, mortgage payments, high-interest loans (payday loans, etc.), and other credit products. What’s more, they’re willing to take on almost anyone as a potential client.
By entering one of their programs, you will gain extra knowledge and learn how to properly manage your debt, now and in the future.
What Will You Need to Become a 4Pillars Client?
In order to become debt-free, you’ll first need to be comfortable talking about your financial problems with a 4Pillars counsellor. Although you’re not obliged to pay for any of their services or give away your banking details, you have to permit them to inspect a few specific details so they can assess your situation properly.
These personal and financial elements may include but aren’t limited to your:
- Full name
- Address & citizenship status
- Employment history
- Monthly/yearly income
- Debt sources & amounts
- Credit report & credit score
- General expenses
Should you wish to sign up for one of the more extensive treatments that 4Pillars offers, such as a debt consolidation loan or consumer proposal, then you’ll need to be even more open about your finances. If they determine that bankruptcy is your best course of action, you’ll even need to provide them with details about your assets and liabilities.
Provinces Where 4Pillars Operates
Another fortunate thing about 4Pillars is that you can speak with their employees or sign up for their services both online and over the phone. That said, depending on how bad your current debt situation is, you may prefer to speak face-to-face with one of their counsellors.
In that case, you can visit one of their numerous offices scattered throughout the following provinces:
- British Columbia
- Newfoundland & Labrador
- Nova Scotia
What Solutions Can 4Pillars Help You Access?
At first glance, 4Pillars seems more focused on debt consolidation strategies, rather than on financial education. However, you can enter their simple “Debt Bootcamp” program via email, wherein you’ll gain knowledge about debt prevention, budgeting strategies, and general financial repair.
If your debt situation is more serious, a 4Pillars counsellor can connect you with various financial experts and help you access these more effective solutions, which are available to both individuals and businesses:
Debt Consolidation Loan
If you really want to limit the amount of damage that your finances and credit will take, one of the more simple solutions that 4Pillars can set you up with is a debt consolidation loan. Typically acquired through a bank or other lender, you would use a single loan to pay off your eligible debts at once.
Positive features of a debt consolidation loan include (but aren’t limited to):
- You can reduce your outstanding debts, which can save you a lot on interest.
- You can avoid a consumer proposal or bankruptcy, which are more time consuming, expensive, and damaging toward your finances and credit.
- If you choose a lender that reports to Equifax and/or TransUnion, full loan payments should appear on your credit report and raise your credit score.
- It’s easier to qualify for a loan than it is to enter some more intensive debt management procedures.
The problem is that applying for a loan means you’ll have to take on more debt that you may not be able to afford. Additionally, you’ll need to pass certain qualifications in order to be eligible. If your lender estimates that you won’t be able to make loan payments on time, your interest rate could go up or you may not qualify at all.
If your debt warrants legal action, 4Pillars can put you in contact with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT), who will oversee your case and, if necessary, guide you through a consumer proposal. Similar to debt consolidation, this procedure allows you to settle with your creditors, then gradually repay what you owe them through a series of monthly payments over a maximum period of 5 years.
Positive features of a consumer proposal include (but aren’t limited to):
- You’ll have the option of paying your proposal off early (interest & penalty-free)
- None of your assets are at risk of being seized
- There’s a less negative impact on your credit than with a bankruptcy
- Your LIT may be able to negotiate a settlement for less than you actually owe
However, in most provinces and territories, you will only be eligible for a consumer proposal if you have between $1,000 and $250,000 of unsecured debt, which means no debts that are secured by collateral will qualify. Additionally, there will be a black mark on your credit report for 3 years following your final payment. While the proposal is in effect, your credit ratings (for any affiliated accounts) will drop to R7.
As a final resort, an Insolvency Trustee can also help you declare bankruptcy which, like a consumer proposal, will end any collection penalties against you and eliminate your unsecured debts. In this case, however, your creditors aren’t likely to get anything out of the deal. Instead, your debts are cleared and you’ll start over with a clean slate.
Positive features of bankruptcy include (but aren’t limited to):
- You only need $1,000 of unsecured debt to be eligible
- There is no maximum limit for the amount of debt you can have
- If all payments are made, you can get discharged in as little as 9 months
All this said, bankruptcy has the largest negative impact on your finances overall. Not only will you have to pay a base contribution of around $1,800, but you may also be stuck making surplus income payments over several years. On top of that, your most valuable assets (home, RRSP, vehicle, etc.) could be seized to satisfy the court.
What Will It Cost To Work With 4Pillars?
Generally speaking, the fees you end up paying will be based on which service you require, how many hours of counselling you need, and how much debt you’re trying to eliminate. For instance, they may charge you various administrative fees if they need to negotiate with or manage transactions between you and your creditors.
More Effective Solutions
However, the costs will increase if you register for one of their more extensive strategies. For example, one of their credit rebuilding programs can cost you around $1,200 in service fees annually. Bankruptcy can lead to months worth of surplus income payments and court-related fees, on top of what 4Pillars may charge for continual communications with your Licensed Insolvency Trustee.
Thankfully, if you’re not sure whether these costs are possible or if you want to ask any questions about their solutions, you can always get a free 1-hour consultation with one of their counsellors, then make your decision from there. Remember, you’re under no obligation to give them any financial information or register for their services.
Frequently Asked Questions
How could credit counselling affect my credit score?
Can they guarantee that my finances and credit will be repaired?
What are the pros and cons of working with 4Pillars?
- Credit counselling can help you slowly repair your financial health and credit
- The faster you consolidate your debts, the more interest you will save
- Debt consolidation can also prevent collection penalties and legal actions
- 4Pillars can offer you many different debt management options
- Fees vary based on how much help you need and maybe unaffordable
- 4Pillars does not operate in every province or territory