Canadians have fewer credit cards, more debt!

TORONTO, ONTARIO, March 08, 2017 – Some good news from TransUnion today, Canadians are carrying fewer credit cards in their wallets. The bad news? Canadians are racking up record levels of debt on the existing credit cards they have. credit cards

According to TransUnion’s Canada Industry Insights Report, Canadians charged $94.2 billion dollars in Q4 2016 in comparison to $91.2 billion in Q4 2015. And Canadians took on this additional debt with fewer credit cards in their wallets. Now as a consequence, the average credit card debt in Canada is $4,094 in Q4 2016 of debt on their credit cards; up from $4,001 in Q4 2015. As consumers grabbed their credit cards as their preferred method of payment, some struggled to pay for their credit card bills. As a consequence, delinquency rates rose in many provinces Canada-wide with the largest increases in Alberta and Saskatchewan:

Q4 2016 Regional Credit Card Performance
Geography90+ Day Credit Card Delinquency (DQ) RatePct. Yearly ChangeAverage Credit Card Debt Per BorrowerPct. Yearly Change
British Columbia3.58%-2.1%$4,2230.8%

*The above data table is from TransUnion.

“Although it is encouraging Canadians are carrying fewer cards in their wallets, consumers are still struggling to manage the debt on the one card they have. The findings from this report suggest that many Canadians are stretched very thin and that credit card debt is helping them to stay afloat,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.

“The burden of debt is a terrible cycle to be in however consumers can break out of it when they change their lifestyle habits and put some very simple controls in place,” says Schwartz.

With so many Canadians living paycheque to paycheque and day to day their expenses out of their grasp credit appears as a quick and convenient tool to supplement their shortage of cash.   To help consumers break the vicious cycle of debt, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada recommends the following:

Stop adding to your debt.  Now!

When you are struggling to stay on top of your debt, the key to survival is to stop taking on additional debt. Buy now and pay for it later – is a recipe for a debt disaster so stop it now! If you have no plan of how you’re going to pay back your debt – don’t take any more on.

List it

No one likes the idea of sitting down and listing all of your expenses. However if you took the time to take note of all of your expenses and create a budget through a budget app or desk top budgeting software – you will be able to have a clear idea of what is coming in and what is going out. The faster you create a budget, the quicker you will be able to stay on top of your debt.

Save your money

Learning to save for a rainy day can break the cycle of debt. Every little bit helps. Cut back on discretionary expenses like morning coffee runs and take your new found money straight to your savings account. You may be surprised how quickly your money can grow!

Forget about your credit card (for now)

It’s time to give your credit card a time out and switch your plastic to a debit card. This way you will only spend the money you have without having to turn to credit.

Declutter your life

If you’re looking for some extra money to manage your debt, now is a good time to start with decluttering your life and consider holding a garage sale when spring arrives. The money you make from downsizing can be used to pay down your debt.


About Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.:

Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance.

For more information or to request an interview with Jeffrey Schwartz, please contact:

Natasha Carr, Community and Public Relations Manager,
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc.,
T: 416-915-7283 ext.1041, C: 416-830-4720, F: 416-915-5200, E: [email protected]

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