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Who is Consolidated Credit?
Consolidated Credit is a credit counselling agency that educates Canadians about debt relief and how to maintain a financially stable lifestyle. They have a resource center dedicated to providing Canadians with free educational information regarding debt relief, saving money, and other personal financial matters. If you’re currently struggling with debt, Consolidated Credit will guide you through their debt management program or connect you with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee if you need a more serious solution.
How to Qualify With Consolidated Credit
Since Consolidated Credit is a credit counselling agency, becoming one of their clients will involve a somewhat different process than applying for a credit card or personal loan. That said, you’ll still have to get in contact with one of their counsellors and have your case evaluated in order to get approved.
Don’t worry, because you won’t necessarily have to “qualify” like you would with a bank or other lender. All you have to do is tell them about your financial situation and, depending on what you’re looking for, your counsellor can recommend a number of solutions, including but not limited to:
- General financial counselling sessions
- Courses about budgeting & proper credit usage
- Debt management programs & consolidation loans
- Consumer proposals & bankruptcies
Essentially, you’ll have to be open about your financial issues, especially if you’re trying to get rid of a large amount of high-interest debt. That said, you may simply want to gain some extra financial know-how or improve your personal finances in other ways, which Consolidated Credit can help you with.
Signing Up With Consolidated Credit
One positive thing about Consolidated Credit is that your introductory consultation is free-of-charge and can be done over the phone. You’re under no obligation to sign up for any courses or purchase any of their services.
However, before you call, keep in mind that you may have to provide them with certain personal and financial information, such as your:
- Full name & date of birth
- Address & citizenship status
- Debt sources & amounts
- Employment status & monthly income
During your consultation, your credit counsellor might also inspect your credit report in an effort to pinpoint any errors, signs of identity theft, or other debt-related problems. Luckily, this would qualify as a soft inquiry and won’t negatively affect your credit score.
In addition, if you want to sign up for any of their services, be aware that they may ask for your credit card and/or banking information. Depending on which solution you choose, there will be several associated fees that you’ll have to consider.
Products and Services Offered at Consolidated Credit
Remember, at its core, Consolidated Credit is a non-profit credit counselling agency, so their main focus is to educate their clients and help them deal with certain financial problems. By visiting the Consolidated Credit website or calling their customer service today, you can gain access to the following programs:
Credit Counselling Sessions
As mentioned, the primary courses you’ll find at Consolidated Credit are it’s counselling sessions, where you would speak regularly with one of their experts and gradually receive the knowledge you need to better your finances and credit.
Although you’ll have to deal with a few monthly administrative fees, the overall length of your program will depend on what your situation and preferences are. Thankfully, these courses can be done over the phone, so you can access them anywhere in Canada.
Basic Debt Reduction Procedures
If you’re dealing with a small to moderate amount of unpaid debt, Consolidated Credit may be able to walk you through one of these less drastic solutions:
- A debt consolidation loan is acquired through a bank or other lender and used to pay off multiple high-interest debts at once, hopefully leaving you with a single monthly (possibly adjustable) payment plan to follow. That said, Consolidated Credit is not a lender, they can only help you contact one.
- A debt management program also allows you to consolidate large debts through monthly payments. However, your counsellor will handle all negotiations and transactions with your lenders directly. Unlike with a consolidation loan, you will technically still owe your lenders money until the program is complete.
- A debt settlement is another type of deal that a credit counsellor can negotiate with your lenders. Only in this case, your counsellor will offer them a single lump-sum payment. If the deal goes well, you may even be able to settle your debt for less than you actually owe and save some interest in the process.
Consumer Proposals & Bankruptcies
If you’re dealing with a more serious amount of debt, you can speak with your counsellor about these legal solutions, both of which are effective for ending collection penalties and clearing your debt through several court-assigned payments:
- A consumer proposal might be a safer choice if you have $1,000 – $250,000 (up to $500,000 if you’re married) of unsecured consumer debt. Here, you’ll pay your debt off with monthly installments over 1 – 5 years maximum. Your assets won’t be seized and you may once again be able to settle your debt for less than you owe. You’re also allowed to pay off your proposal early for little to no charge.
- A bankruptcy is somewhat more effective because you can qualify with $1,000 of unsecured debt and there is no maximum limit. Unfortunately, you may have to surrender your assets (home, vehicle, RRSPs, etc.) as partial payment. However, your bankruptcy may be discharged in as little as 9 months if all your payments are made on time (base contribution, surplus income, etc.).
Neither of these procedures can be administered without the help of a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, which is another expert that Consolidated Credit can set you up with. As always, it’s extremely important to consider the negative impact that either solution can have on your finances and credit score before you sign any papers.
The Potential Costs of Credit Counselling
Since they may not be affordable for you, be sure to ask Consolidated Credit about the various fees they charge before you decide on any of their services. After all, you might already be struggling with unmanageable debt.
All this said the overall cost of your counselling program or debt management solution will depend on various circumstances. For instance, a debt management program or bankruptcy can take several months, maybe even years to complete if your debt is large enough. The more time and effort required, the higher your fees could be.
On the other hand, a simple budgeting course may only last a few weeks and could, therefore, be affordable for the average consumer. To get a free quote, just visit the Consolidated Credit website, enter your debt amount and payment status, then follow the appropriate steps.
Questions to Ask Consolidated Credit
For more information about their debt relief procedures, don’t forget to speak with one of the counsellors at Consolidated Credit and ask them all the questions you need, including but not limited to the following:
How Can Credit Counselling Help Me Improve My Finances?
- Balance your budget properly
- Cut down on unnecessary expenses
- Select and manage your debts better
- Open and maintain various financial accounts (bank, credit, etc.)
- Build your credit history and improve your credit score
- Get out of debt before (or after) it takes over your life
How Could Credit Counselling Affect Your Credit Report?
What Are the Pros and Cons of Consolidated Credit Counselling?
- Credit counselling can gradually improve your debts, credit, and finances
- Courses are available in every province and territory in Canada
- Various debt consolidation and management solutions are offered
- The first consultation is free and you’re under no obligation
- A credit counsellor can negotiate with your creditors or put you in contact with other financial experts, such as Licensed Insolvency Trustees
- The associated fees depend on your case and may not be affordable
- Certain products and services may negatively affect your credit
- Their solutions are not guaranteed to fix your financial problems