TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire -05/02/12)- Canada's consumer delinquency rate improved significantly over the past year, decreasing 7.6 percent from the previous year, according to Equifax Canada's Q1, 2012 National Credit Trends Report.
Nadim Abdo, Vice President, Consulting & Analytical Services, Equifax Canada, says the current delinquency rate of 3.04 per cent translates to a total of 738,526 Canadian consumers who missed three or more consecutive payments on their debt obligations in the first quarter of 2012.
"Almost three-quarters of a million Canadians now have the opportunity to improve their creditworthiness as the economy improves," Abdo adds.
With that in mind, Equifax Canada provides the following suggestions to help Canadians on the path toward improving their creditworthiness:
Start small. Re-establishing your creditworthiness can be similar to starting over from scratch. Starting small, with credit cards from department stores or your local credit union, can be useful in this case.
Consider asking for help. If you can't qualify for credit on your own, ask a friend or family member to co-sign for a small loan or credit card. If you can stay current on a major credit card account or small auto loan, it will speed up the process of re-establishing good credit and improving your creditworthiness on your own.
Consider a secured credit card. Secured cards are guaranteed by a deposit you make with the credit grantor and give you the purchasing power of a major credit card.
Use your new accounts in moderation. Make payments that are more than the minimum amount owed and make your payments on time. Keep a small balance on your new accounts so that your positive payment history will continue to show up on your credit report.
Keep your balances low. Avoid carrying a balance of more than 30 percent of your credit limit. Lenders may view this as excessive debt with which you may not be able to stay current.
Reduce your household spending. Review your household expenses and determine which ones you could do without. Consider creating a budget to track exactly where your money goes each month.
Call lenders if you can't pay some of your debts. Explain your situation. Some lenders will be willing to work out a plan for you to pay back what you owe.
Contact a reputable credit counseling agency to make a plan for paying off your credit bills. Beware of agencies that offer "quick fix" ways to get out of debt. Talk to counselors at a respected consumer credit counseling agency.
Monitor your progress
Acting on just a couple of these suggestions is the first step toward re-establishing your credit, counsellors say. If you would like to be more proactive about monitoring your credit file and activities, Equifax offers the Credit Watch product. Information is available online at www.equifax.ca or phone toll free: 1-800-465-7166.
Equifax has also released an article on Common Credit Myths, which can be found at:
Equifax is a global leader in consumer and commercial information solutions, providing businesses of all sizes and consumers with information they can trust. We organize and assimilate data on more than 500 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide, and use advanced analytics and proprietary technology to create and deliver customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or has investments in 17 countries and is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index. Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. For more information, please visit www.consumer.equifax.ca.
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Hunter LaVigne Communications Inc.
Mark LaVigne, APR, FCPRS