What You Need to Know:

  • Are you having difficulty managing your debt? There is help available. If you think your debt is becoming unmanageable, talk to your bank.
  • It’s important to ask for help early before the situation gets worse. Banks do not want to see their customers in financial difficulty. Your bank may be able to help you work through your financial problems.

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 or online.
  • 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.

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.


If You’re Struggling With Debt

Here are some tips if you’re struggling with debt:

  • Talk to your bank early. Banks have a strong interest in working 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 a number of 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.


If you have general questions about banking in Canada, call the CBA’s Banking Information Line at 1‑800‑263‑0231 or send an email to inform@cba.ca.

More Information

To learn more about how credit counselling agencies can help or to find a credit counselling agency near you, visit the websites of these associations that represent not-for-profit agencies in Canada.

Credit Counselling Canada
Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services (CACCS)