Non-Profit Consumer Credit Counselling

Identify the best way to get out of debt, and the advice is free.

Non-profit consumer credit counselling is designed to help you understand your options for getting out of debt so that you can find the best solution for your needs. A trained credit counsellor can help you take stock of your financial situation and help you understand your options for relief and the advice is free.

The average non-mortgage consumer debt in Canada is $30,000. If it turns out that you may need help getting out of debt, a credit counsellor can also help you customize a plan to pay back everything you owe more efficiently.

This guide explains what credit counselling is, how it works and how it compares to other debt solutions. If you still have questions or you’re ready to get started with your free evaluation, call 1-888-294-3130 to get help with your debt problems.

What is credit counselling?

Consumer credit counselling services are designed to help consumers develop effective strategies for paying off credit card debt. Non-profit credit counselling is not a debt solution in and of itself. Instead, it’s a service that helps you identify the best solution to use based on your debts, credit, and budget.

Learn how for-profit and non-profit counselling services differ »

How does credit counselling work?

Step 1: Get a free debt and budget evaluation from a trained credit counsellor

The credit counselling process starts with one free phone call. A trained credit counsellor will ask you for some basic information. Then they’ll ask you to explain your situation in your own words. This will help the credit counsellor understand how you got into debt and identify the root cause of the financial challenges you’re facing.

The counsellor will also review your debts, credit, and budget to see where you stand.

Know what to expect when you call for a free credit counselling session »

Step 2: Explore your options for debt relief

Next, the credit counsellor will help you compare options for debt relief. There’s more than one way to get out of debt, so it’s essential to understand all your options and choose the best solution for your needs.

These are the debt solutions you should discuss during a free credit counselling session:

Step 3: Customize a plan to get out of debt

Enroll in a debt management programIf the best solution for your situation is a debt management program, then you can enroll through the credit counselling organization directly. Credit counselling agencies administer debt management programs, acting as your advocate to work with creditors on your behalf.

Your credit counsellor will help you find a monthly payment that works for your budget. Then they contact your creditors, who agree to reduce or eliminate interest charges and stop any penalties on your account. Once your creditors accept the plan, you make one affordable monthly payment to the credit counselling service, and they distribute the payment to your creditors on your behalf.

What is a debt management program?

A debt management program is an assisted form of debt consolidation because it rolls all your debts into a single monthly payment. However, unlike a debt consolidation loan, you still owe your original creditors.

The credit counselling agency helps you set up and oversee a repayment plan that works for your budget. A debt management plan enables you to get out of debt faster because it minimizes the interest charges applied to what you owe. That way, you can focus on paying down your balances, which allows you to get out of debt faster.

Financial counselling to help you stay debt-free

In addition to helping you evaluate your debt and set up a debt management program, nonprofit credit counselling agencies also provide free financial education resources. These resources can help you learn better money management techniques so that once you become debt-free, you can stay that way.

Frequently asked questions about credit counselling

How much does credit counselling cost?

Non-profit credit counselling services are charitable organizations, so they’re designed to be a low-cost option to help you pay off your debt. Plus, the initial consultation is entirely free and you’re under no obligation to sign up for anything.

If you enroll in a debt management program, monthly fees are there solely to cover the cost of administering your plan. Fees depend on your budget and level of financial hardship, which roll into your monthly payment.

First credit counselling session Free
Debt management program Monthly administration fee based on your budget

How does credit counselling affect your credit score?

Getting a free debt evaluation from a trained credit counsellor will not negatively affect your credit. That way, you can understand your options for getting out of debt without damaging your credit score.

If you decide to enroll in a debt management program, your credit report gets a note stating such. This can decrease your credit score, although the exact amount your score will drop depends on where your score is when you enroll.

This notation will remain on your credit report for two years from the date you complete the program. Two years is nothing in the long-term when you have peace of mind.

What do I need for my first session?

To complete your evaluation, the credit counsellor will need the following types of information:

  1. Your net (take home) income
  2. The current balance, APR and current payment for each credit card debt
  3. The monthly payment on other debts and obligations, such as your mortgage and utility bills
  4. Budget estimates of your spending on regular monthly expenses, such as food and gas
  5. The credit counsellor may also review your credit report to see where you are with your credit rating and profile

Your credit counsellor uses this information to determine the best way for you to get out of debt. Debt solutions can vary widely from one solution to the next, so a thorough analysis is always needed to determine ways to move forward.

What can I expect when I enroll?

If a debt management program is decided to be the best debt solution for you, the credit counsellor will be able to tell you how much you will pay each month on your reduced debt payment and how long it should take to complete the program to help you get started.

The credit counsellor who speaks with you to complete your first credit counselling session will be the counsellor you work with all the way through your program. Each month, you pay the credit counselling agency a single monthly payment, and they will distribute the payment amongst your creditors. On your behalf. In addition, the credit counsellor will negotiate with creditors to lower your interest rates and remove any penalties or fees that have been applied to your account.

During your program, if you have further questions, your credit counsellor is available to help. Additionally, if your situation changes and you have trouble meeting your monthly payment, the counsellor can assist you with staying on track.

See how Consolidated Credit Counselling Services has helped other consumers like you

Consolidated Credit Counselling Services has helped over half a million Canadians find relief from credit card debt. A debt management program isn’t for everyone, but when it’s used in the right situation, it helps you get out of debt faster with less money wasted on accrued monthly interest charges.

This map shows just how many people we’ve helped through our debt management program.


You can also click the links to find real examples of clients we’ve helped from different provinces, territories and cities:

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