Banks are committed to helping their customers manage through financial difficulties. Many Canadians continue to feel economic stress as we recover from the pandemic and make spending decisions at a time of rising prices for goods and services caused by inflation. If you are struggling because of job loss or other strains on your finances, talk to your bank. They might be able to help.
Do You Have Debt Problems?
It’s likely you have a debt problem if:
- you can’t make your minimum monthly payments on your credit card
- you need credit to pay for basic living expenses
- you aren’t sure how much you owe
- you always seem to have unmanageable debt
- your financial problems are affecting your work or family life
If you are experiencing financial difficulties, there is help available.
Banks have long supported non profit credit counselling agencies and the good work that they do to assist Canadians who need help managing their money.
Banks do not want to see their customers in financial difficulty and provide a number of resources and supportive measures to assist those who might need help in managing their money: cba.ca/financialwellness
If You’re Struggling With Debt
The Canadian Bankers Association has partnered with Credit Counselling Canada, an association of accredited non-profit credit counselling agencies, to offer a Debt and Money Quiz. This easy “Yes” or “No” quiz allows Canadians to assess their financial health and provides recommendations to help those who are struggling.
You can take the quiz at debtmoneyquiz.ca
Remember, if you’re struggling with debt, there is help available:
- Talk to your bank early. Banks work with their clients who are facing financial difficulty to help them stay in good standing with their creditors. If you’re struggling, talk to your bank and your other creditors to discuss the situation and find out if there are options to help you pay off your debt. Banks may be able to be flexible and help customers make alternative arrangements to repay the money they owe to their bank. For example, banks may be able to help you by providing advice, debt counselling and flexible loan repayment arrangements such as loan consolidation or lengthening the term of the debt to reduce regular payments. They may also refer you to a not-for-profit credit counselling agency if they feel it would be helpful.
- Seek help from a not-for-profit credit counselling agency. You may seek help from a not-for-profit credit counselling agency, which provides guidance on budgeting and money management and, if necessary, intervention on repaying debts through structured debt management plans. Not-for-profit credit counselling agencies provide several different services. For some clients, general money management education and counselling may be enough help. For others, the counsellor may talk with creditors to help them understand the client’s situation and make alternate arrangements for the client to repay the debt directly. For still others, a debt management program may be appropriate so that the counsellor can negotiate arrangements with creditors, provide ongoing counselling and channel the payments to creditors.
Using Credit Wisely
Credit products, used wisely, can be an important tool to help you build your financial future. To make credit work for you, not against you, be sure to:
- Make a budget for yourself and stick to it. Make sure that you know how much you can afford to spend and don’t go over that limit.
- Keep track of all your credit purchases. Save the receipts to keep track of what you’ve spent and check them against your monthly statement.
- Always read and understand credit application forms before you sign them.
If you think your debt is becoming unmanageable, talk to your bank. Banks are often able to help their clients work through financial problems by offering advice, debt counselling or a referral to a not-for-profit credit counselling agency.