Debt Consolidation

Everything You Need to Know About Debt Consolidation in Canada

If you’re considering debt consolidation, understanding the different debt consolidation loans available in Canada is an important place to start.
Bruce Hodges
February 14, 2024
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Table of Contents

Helpful Debt Consolidation For Canadians

If you’re struggling with multiple debts, trying to keep up with all sorts of different payments and interest rates— you’re not alone. Nearly 2 million Canadians use payday loans each year, and high-interest loans like these can make it a serious challenge to get out of debt.

That’s where debt consolidation comes in, and we’ve outlined absolutely everything you’ll need to know about it in this article.

Key Takeaways

  • Debt consolidation involves combining multiple debts into a single, more manageable payment, typically through a new loan with better terms.
  • Various types of debt consolidation loans are available in Canada, including personal loans, home equity loans, balance transfer credit cards, debt management plans, and specialized loans tailored to specific types of debt.
  • Assessing your financial situation, understanding the impact on your credit score, comparing interest rates, and seeking professional advice are crucial steps in determining if debt consolidation is right for you.

What Is Debt Consolidation?

Debt consolidation is when multiple debts are combined to form a single, more manageable payment. This involves taking out a new loan that pays off all existing debts, which generally results in a more favourable repayment plan or lower interest rate. 

Different Types of Debt Consolidation Loans

If you’re considering debt consolidation, understanding the different debt consolidation loans available in Canada is an important place to start. This way, you better understand whether debt consolidation is the right course of action for your specific circumstances. 

At Parachute, we offer the only debt consolidation loan that actually gives you cash-back and allows you to rebuild your financial health. We’ll consolidate your high-interest rate debt into one lower cost monthly payment, allowing you to earn and save up to an additional $20,000. You can apply now to see if you qualify, with no impact to your credit score.

  • Personal Loans: Canadians can access personal loans from banks, credit unions, or online lenders to consolidate their debts. These loans offer flexibility and convenience, allowing borrowers to combine various debts into a single monthly payment. Parachute’s debt consolidation loan falls into this category.
  • Home Equity Loans or HELOCs: Homeowners in Canada can tap into their home equity through loans or lines of credit for debt consolidation purposes. These options often come with lower interest rates and extended repayment terms, providing an attractive solution for homeowners seeking to consolidate debt.
  • Balance Transfer Credit Cards: Similar to other regions, Canadians can take advantage of balance transfer credit cards offering promotional periods with low or 0% interest rates. By transferring high-interest balances onto these cards, you may be able to save on interest payments and consolidate their debts effectively.
  • Debt Management Plans (DMPs): Credit counselling agencies in Canada offer DMPs to help individuals negotiate lower interest rates or payment plans with creditors. DMPs consolidate debts into a single monthly payment, making it easier for Canadians to manage their finances and become debt-free. It is important to note that this is different from a debt consolidation loan or personal loan, and can harm your credit score.

How Can I Know If Debt Consolidation Is Right For Me?

Trying to manage your debts is stressful. But so is understanding if debt consolidation is the best option for you. Asking yourself these questions can help indicate if debt consolidation is your best approach:

Are You Overwhelmed by Multiple Debt Repayments?

Start by evaluating your current debts. Are you struggling to manage multiple payments each month? Debt consolidation combines all your debts into a single monthly payment, making it easier to track and manage. So if managing various debt payments is causing stress and confusion, debt consolidation could simplify your finances.

Do You Have Clear Financial Goals?

Before making any decisions, you want to assess your long-term financial objectives. Even though debt consolidation can help you regain control of your finances and become debt-free faster, you want to have a plan in place to prevent you from falling back into debt. 

Are You Committed to Responsible Spending? 

Evaluate your budgeting skills and financial discipline. Debt consolidation is most effective when paired with responsible spending habits. Ensure that you're committed to making timely payments and avoiding additional debt. Debt consolidation is the best when you pair it with responsible financial behaviour.

What’s the Potential Impact on Your Credit Score?

Understand the potential impact on your credit score. While debt consolidation can initially cause a slight dip in your score, it can ultimately improve it by reducing your overall debt load and making payments more manageable.

Have You Compared Interest Rates?

Compare the interest rates on your current debts with those offered through debt consolidation. Ensure that the debt consolidation loan is offering better terms that will actually have a positive impact on your finances. 

Would You Benefit from Professional Advice? 

If you're unsure whether debt consolidation is right for you, seeking advice from a financial advisor or credit counsellor could be a good next step. They can provide personalized guidance based on your unique financial situation.

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How to Consolidate Debt

Consolidating debt in Canada doesn't have to be complicated. Follow these five steps to simplify the process and take charge of your financial situation:

Step 1: Look at Your Debt Portfolio

Begin by taking stock of all your outstanding debts, including balances, interest rates, and monthly payments. Understanding the full scope of your debt obligations is crucial for devising an effective consolidation plan.

Step 2: Explore the Different Consolidation Options 

Research the various debt consolidation options available in Canada, such as debt consolidation loans, home equity solutions, and debt management programs. Evaluate each option based on factors like interest rates, terms, and eligibility criteria to find the best fit for your needs.

For example, Parachute is an ideal solution for Canadians struggling with high-interest loans from financial institutions like Fairstone, Easy Financial and Cash-4-You.

Step 3: Pick the Solution That’s Right for You

Select the consolidation method that aligns best with your financial goals and circumstances. The right choice for you will highly depend on the terms of your current debt. Whether it's securing a debt consolidation loan with more favourable terms or leveraging home equity, ensure that the chosen solution offers tangible benefits and supports your journey towards debt freedom.

Step 4: Create a Repayment Strategy (and Stick to It)

Once you've chosen a consolidation option, devise a comprehensive repayment strategy. Set realistic goals, establish a budget-friendly payment plan, and commit to making timely payments to accelerate debt reduction and achieve financial stability. Debt consolidation only works if you’re committed, and good habits are essential if you want to reap the benefits. When you get a loan with Parachute, we can help you do this. 

Step 5: Monitor Your Progress 

Stay vigilant about your progress as you work towards paying off your consolidated debt. Regularly monitor your finances, track your repayment efforts, and be prepared to adjust your strategy as needed to overcome challenges and stay on course toward achieving your financial goals. When you get a loan with Parachute, we help you do this as well.

What to Look Out For

When considering debt consolidation in Canada, here are some key factors to keep in mind:

  • Interest Rates: Compare the interest rates offered by different consolidation options with the rates you're currently paying on your existing debts. Ensure that the new rate is lower or at least comparable to avoid paying more in interest over the long term.
  • Fees and Charges: Watch out for any additional fees or charges associated with the consolidation process. These may include origination fees, closing costs, or balance transfer fees. Factor these costs into your overall assessment of the affordability of consolidation. Parachute does not charge any additional fees. 
  • Repayment Terms: Understand the repayment terms associated with the consolidation loan or program. Longer repayment terms may result in lower monthly payments but could also mean paying more in interest over time. Choose terms that align with your financial goals and ability to repay.
  • Flexibility: Evaluate the flexibility of the consolidation option you're considering. Can you make extra payments or pay off the loan early without penalties? Repayment flexibility can help you save on interest and pay off your debts faster.
  • Financial Stability: Assess your financial stability and ability to commit to the consolidation plan. Make sure you're ready to make regular payments and avoid accumulating new debt during the consolidation process.

By considering these factors and conducting thorough research, you can make an informed decision about whether debt consolidation is the right solution for your financial circumstances.

Debt Consolidation vs. Consumer Proposal

Debt consolidation and consumer proposals are two distinctly different methods of managing debt, each with its own characteristics and implications. Here are the key differences between them:

  • Debt consolidation involves combining multiple debts into a single loan or credit facility, typically with more favourable terms such as a lower interest rate or longer repayment period. It does not involve formal negotiations with creditors or legal proceedings and does not negatively impact your credit report over the long term. 
  • On the other hand, a consumer proposal is a formal debt settlement agreement administered under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, negotiated with creditors through a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). It involves proposing a repayment plan to creditors to settle debts partially over an extended period, typically up to five years and can stay on your credit report for up to six years, making it hard for you to borrow again in the future.

The Legal Process

Debt consolidation does not involve any legal proceedings. It is a private agreement between the debtor and the lender(s) to combine debts into a new loan.

In contrast, a consumer proposal is a legal process administered under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. It requires the involvement of a Licensed Insolvency Trustee to negotiate the proposal with creditors and obtain their acceptance.

Creditor Involvement

Debt consolidation does not require creditor approval. The debtor obtains a new loan or credit facility to pay off existing debts, regardless of creditor consent.

On the other hand, a consumer proposal requires the approval of creditors representing the majority of the debtor's total unsecured debt. If accepted, all creditors are legally bound by the terms of the proposal, even if some creditors objected to it.

Credit Impact

Debt consolidation may have a moderate impact on credit scores, depending on factors such as credit utilization and payment history. It demonstrates responsible debt management but may result in a temporary dip in credit score due to the new loan application. In the long-term, it’s more likely to have an overall positive effect on your credit score.

Whereas, a consumer proposal is considered a form of insolvency and is noted on the debtor's credit report for up to three years after completion. It typically has a more significant negative impact on credit scores compared to debt consolidation.

Does Debt Consolidation Hurt Your Credit?

Debt consolidation can have both positive and negative effects on your credit, depending on how you manage the process. Here are some considerations regarding how debt consolidation might impact your credit:

Temporary Dip in Credit Score

When you apply for a new loan or credit facility to consolidate your debts, the lender will likely conduct a hard inquiry on your credit report. This inquiry can cause a small, temporary decrease in your credit score. Additionally, opening a new credit account may temporarily lower the average age of your accounts, which can also impact your score.

Reduction in Credit Utilization Ratio

If you use a debt consolidation loan to pay off high-interest credit card balances or other revolving debts, it can lower your overall credit utilization ratio. Credit utilization is the amount of credit you're using compared to your total available credit, and lower utilization is generally viewed positively by credit scoring models.

Simplified Payment History

Consolidating multiple debts into a single loan means you'll only have one monthly payment to manage instead of multiple payments. If you consistently make on-time payments on your consolidation loan, it can have a positive impact on your payment history, which is a significant factor in determining your credit score.

Potential for Lower Interest Rates

If you're able to secure a debt consolidation loan with a lower interest rate than what you're currently paying on your existing debts, it can save you money in interest over time. Paying less interest can free up more of your income to pay down debt faster, which can ultimately improve your creditworthiness.

Long-Term Credit Improvement

Successfully managing a debt consolidation loan and reducing your overall debt load can contribute to long-term improvements in your credit score. As you pay down the consolidation loan and demonstrate responsible credit behaviour, your credit score may gradually increase over time.

Is Debt Consolidation in Canada a Good Idea?

Debt consolidation in Canada can be a beneficial solution for some individuals, but whether it's a good idea depends on various factors specific to your financial situation. 

Here are some of the most common pros and cons associated with debt consolidation to help make your decisions clearer: 

The Pros of Debt Consolidation

  • Consolidating multiple debts into a single loan or payment can simplify your financial obligations. Instead of juggling multiple due dates and payment amounts, you'll have one manageable monthly payment to focus on.
  • If you qualify for a debt consolidation loan with a lower interest rate than what you're currently paying on your existing debts, you could save money on interest charges over time. This can help you pay off your debt more efficiently and reduce the total amount you owe.
  • Consolidating high-interest debts into a single loan with a lower monthly payment can improve your monthly cash flow. This extra money can be redirected towards savings, investments, or other financial goals.
  • Debt consolidation can provide a clear roadmap for becoming debt-free. With a structured repayment plan, you'll know exactly when you'll be debt-free and how much you need to pay each month to achieve that goal.
  • Making on-time payments on your consolidation loan can positively impact your credit score over time. Additionally, reducing your overall credit utilization ratio by paying off high-interest credit card balances can also improve your creditworthiness.

The Cons of Debt Consolidation

  • Debt consolidation doesn't address the underlying causes of debt accumulation. Without addressing overspending habits or financial mismanagement, there's a risk of falling back into debt after consolidating. That’s why Parachute is dedicated to rebuilding your financial health, and is the only debt consolidation loan that gives cash-back rewards when you take positive action.
  • While debt consolidation can lower your interest rate, extending the repayment term may result in paying more interest over the life of the loan. It's essential to calculate the total cost of consolidation, including interest charges, before committing to the process.
  • Some debt consolidation options may come with fees, such as origination fees or balance transfer fees (Not Parachute!). It's essential to factor these costs into your decision and ensure that the overall savings justify any fees associated with consolidation.
  • Applying for a new loan or credit facility for debt consolidation can result in a temporary dip in your credit score due to the hard inquiry and potential changes in credit utilization. However, with responsible repayment, your credit score can recover over time.

What Makes Parachute Different?

At Parachute, we take a personalized approach to debt consolidation, focusing on tailored solutions to meet the specific needs of Canadian borrowers. That’s what makes our services at Parachute different from other debt consolidation options in Canada. 

We are focused on building your financial health. With our innovative platform, we empower you to track your loan and view a personalized financial roadmap made just for you. Parachute is the first loan of its kind that actually rewards you with cash-back for taking positive actions!

Our customers save an average of $300 per month and get immediate cash-flow relief.

Want that to be you? Click this link to start your journey to financial freedom today!

Bruce Hodges
Bruce, Founder and CEO of Parachute, worked for several of Canada’s top Banks, published research for the Canadian Bankers Association, and taught E-commerce Strategy in Wilfrid Laurier University’s MBA program. His first start-up built credit solutions for the likes of National Bank, Fair Isaac, and Ford Credit globally. Prior to starting Parachute, Bruce was COO of Foresters Financial, and EVP Transformation at CIBC, one of Canada’s top 5 banks. Bruce founded Parachute to disrupt the financial wellness space taking on payday, and high interest predatory lenders, with the intent to bring at risk Canadians back from the brink to good financial health.
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