Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to questions people commonly ask us.

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Questions People Often Ask

Below are some questions that people often ask. If you have a question, are confused about something, or would like a bit more information, feel free to call us at 1-855-232-4888 or chat with us online. We'd be happy to answer any question you might have - even if you're asking for someone else.

 

Since you’re non-profit, where does your funding come from?
Over 70% of our funding comes from donations from the credit granting community.
Why would creditors want to give you money?

Creditors help fund our services and programs because:

  • They value the impartial information, advice, and counselling consumers receive free of charge.
  • They recognize and benefit from the success of our services and programs.
  • They recognize that their customers, who find themselves in financial difficulty, may be more comfortable receiving advice from an objective credit counselling service.
  • We are on the ground, in communities actively helping people with their finances and providing financial education. We do this though our offices in 23 communities across Canada and through our traveling Education Team in each province we serve.
What are the main reasons for financial problems?

Some of the most common reasons why people experience financial difficulty are as follows:

  • Excessive use of credit / Using credit for living expenses
  • Unemployment / Underemployment
  • No budget / Lack of financial education
  • Injury / Illness
  • Divorce / Separation
  • High student loan debt / Education expenses
  • High housing costs
What are the warning signs that someone may need our help?

There definitely are warning signs to watch out for. These warning signs can include:

  1. Difficulty paying bills on time
  2. Receiving collection calls or past due notices
  3. Living in your overdraft or line of credit
  4. Losing sleep worrying about debts
  5. Spending more than your income allows
  6. Not paying credit cards in full each month
  7. Impulsive spending due to financial worries
  8. Hiding spending or debts from your partner
  9. Allowing bills to stack up because you can’t
    pay them
  10. Being declined by your financial institution to consolidate your debts
  11. No budget or spending plan in place
  12. Feelings of hopelessness that you’ll never
    get out of debt

What options do people have to deal with their debts?

Generally speaking, Canadians have many options to choose from to resolve debt and financial problems, but it's good to bear in mind that the longer someone waits to deal with their situation – and the worse things get – the fewer options they’ll have as time moves on. However, the good news is that when most people see nothing but a dead-end, we specialize in helping them find options and put together a realistic plan to get back on track. Some of the options we may look at with someone can include:

Many times, though, we’re able to help people without any of these programs. Often we find that just providing someone with a fresh perspective, some knowledge, new insights, an optimized budget, and an action plan enables them to tackle their financial challenges on their own without additional help.
Does talking to you impact my credit?
No, talking with us is 100% confidential. No one will ever know that you spoke with us or met with one of our Credit Counsellors unless you tell them.
Can you help me with bankruptcy?
If you believe that bankruptcy is the only option left to you, we are the right people to see. Between financial difficulty and bankruptcy are a lot of options, and we specialize in helping people explore those options. We’ll help you take an objective look at your whole financial situation and see if filing for bankruptcy is your only or best option. Many times people actually have other, better options – such as a Debt Management Program or a Consumer Proposal – that can help them resolve their financial challenges and get back on track without having to go bankrupt. If in the end bankruptcy is your best option, we’ll refer you to a reputable bankruptcy trustee located near you.
What’s the difference between you and debt relief companies or debt consultants?

There are many differences but one of the big ones is that we don’t pay our staff commission. This means that our staff are paid the same regardless of what option you choose to deal with your debt situation. They don’t have a financial motive compelling them to steer you in a certain direction and sign you up for a specific product or service. Instead, they can have an objective conversation with you about all your options without sugar-coating anything.

Another big difference is that all of our Counsellors are professionally trained and accredited by the AFCPE, and our organization is accredited by Credit Counselling Canada. We are also accountable to the Canada Revenue Agency as a registered chartiy, and we're accountable to the National Foundation for Credit Counselling. No other credit counselling or debt relief organization in Canada has submitted themselves to this level of accountability, opened themselves up to this level of transparency, or has received this level of professional accreditation.

Another huge difference is that we help around 95% of the people who contact us entirely for free. Only around 5% of the people we help choose to go onto one of our programs that requires them to pay something (however, we do reduce or waive these costs if we believe that someone can’t afford them). It would be extremely difficult for a for-profit business to stay in business if they were to help 95% of people for free. This is why we were created as a non-profit that is supported by donations from the financial community – and the reason why so many businesses, government agencies, community groups, and individuals refer so many people to us every day.

On top of all this, our demonstrated commitment to excellence is unparalleled in our industry. We win more Consumer Choice Awards every year in cities across Canada than all other organizations in our field combined. 98% of our clients surveyed last year report they would recommend our service to others (we surveyed over 20,000). On Google, Facebook, Yelp, and other websites, you’ll find well over 700 reviews that also reflect our commitment to excellence and always doing what’s in the best interest of everyone we help.
Do you loan money?

While we don’t loan money, we are effectively able to accomplish the same thing for someone’s finances in a number of other ways. This may sound strange, but here’s two ways that we accomplish this:

  1. We have a Debt Management Program that consolidates all of your unsecured debts into one affordable monthly payment that fits your budget. You then make one payment to us, and we then disburse payments to your various creditors on your behalf. So this program ends up consolidating your payments without a loan. You can learn more about it here.
  2. If we sit down with you – either in person or over the phone – we’ll help you put together a realistic budget. We find out what your current financial challenges are and what your goals are for the future. We then help you structure your budget and find solutions to help you resolve the challenges and make meaningful progress toward your goals in a reasonable length of time. In the end, we help people make ends meet and accomplish their financial goals without borrowing money. This may seem hard to believe, but we do it every day. Before you get a loan, make an appointment to speak with one of our Credit Counsellors, see what you can learn, and see if they can help you put together a reasonable plan that doesn’t involve going deeper into debt.
What amount of debt do you deal with?
We can help you with any size of personal debt whether it’s $2,000, $20,000 or $200,000. The amount doesn’t matter. Helping you is what matters. There are solutions and strategies to deal with every size of debt.
Accredited member of Credit Counselling Canada.
International affiliate of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
Accredited as a charity with the Better Business Bureau.
Winner of the Consumer Choice Award in cities across Canada.

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