Equifax Canada Report: Consumer Debt is on the Rise

Be wise and spend carefully over the holiday season.

Equifax Canada has reported that low interest rates, and falling oil prices, have driven up consumer debt and delinquency rates in the third quarter.

Delinquency rates and the average debt amount held by Canadians increased when compared to the same period in 2015. The report provided details on a Provincial basis and indicated that delinquency rates increased in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland, whereas Ontario and Quebec showed greater stability and responsible repayment. Overall, Canadians across the country are increasingly managing their debt wisely, with many paying their credit balance in full every month, and fewer are only making minimum payments.

Consumers are decreasing their debt.  Those that continue to increase their debts are adding larger amounts on average.  People who can afford it are buying more cars and spending more on housing, and borrowing more from their financial institutions for those purchases. Meanwhile, older Canadians are showing the largest increase on average debt but continue to have the least trouble making the required monthly payments.

All Canadians are encouraged to be conscious on their debt load and budgets over the holiday shopping season, and commit to not overspending.

Here are some simple tips to keep your holiday spending on track, during the holiday season;

  1. Set a budget for spending.
  1. Save before you shop, i.e. put cash away every month before the holiday season starts, this way you are ready for the extra spending beforehand.
  1. Make a list of the people to buy for, think about their interests, estimate the cost of each item, look for any sales, and stick to your list.
  1. Pay with cash instead of your credit cards.
  1. Keep track of what you spend.

Shop early and look for sales before the holiday season starts.

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