What is credit counselling?
- Credit counselling is simply the process of meeting with someone to discuss your credit/debt and/or financial difficulties.
- Credit counselling is not a licensed or regulated profession and therefore it is important that you understand what services are being provided by the credit counsellor, the costs and if the counsellor is able to offer a program to assist you. You should not have to pay for obtaining general information on the credit counselling services offered and/or your financial options. A Licensed Insolvency Trustee will provide this information at no cost as will most credit counselling firms.
- Many credit counsellors are “debt repayment agents”. They will charge you fees to negotiate a “debt management program” that allows you to make one monthly consolidated payment to the credit counselling firm that they distribute to the creditors who agree to participate in the program.
- A debt repayment agent in BC must be licensed by the Consumer Protection Agency of BC. You may search the Consumer Protection Agency of BC website at https://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/consumers-debt-collection/find-a-licensed-business/debt-repayment to determine whether a debt repayment agent you are consulting is licensed for BC.
When to consider credit counselling?
- Your total debt is payable within a maximum of five years at a monthly consolidated amount.
- You have a steady income or other financial support and are able to make monthly payments to your creditors but need relief from the numerous minimum payment requirements for each creditor and/or the staggering interest costs.
- You have minimal or no government debt from income tax, student loans, etc.
- Your budget allows you to continue to pay any secured debt such as auto loans, mortgages, or other financing loans, for necessary assets you wish to retain while making the monthly payments under the debt management program.
What are the benefits of a debt management program with a credit counsellor?
- Your monthly payment is based on your personal budget, subject to meeting the maximum 5 year repayment terms.
- Although there is no legal protection from your creditors as in a bankruptcy or consumer proposal, most creditors that agree to your debt management program will generally not pursue you while you are making payments under the program.
- Interest rates are eliminated or reduced by your creditors to ease your repayment.
- There is no permanent public record with the government as in a consumer proposal or bankruptcy.
How do I obtain more information?
- Take the first step and contact D. Kwasnicky & Associates Inc. for a free personal financial assessment to determine if credit counselling is the best option for you. We will discuss the pros and cons of the various options that can help you solve your financial problems.
- If credit counselling is a viable option for you, we can direct you to a reputable credit counselling firm that will be able to assist you in providing a free confidential assessment and, if it is practical for your budget, filing a debt management program.
- For further information on the regulated fees for a debt management program, Consumer Protection Agency of BC provides a flowchart on the Debt Repayment Business Models and Fees at https://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/images/content/inquiries/debt%20repayment%20models%20and%20fees%20flow%20chart.pdf.