Survey finds two-thirds of Canadians concerned about personal financial crisis
TORONTO -- An Angus Reid poll conducted for Credit Canada finds that a growing number of Canadians are worried about the financial fallout of COVID-19.
The poll of 1,504 Canadians found that two out of three said a job loss or reduced income would (or already has) caused them a severe financial crisis.
Some Canadians say if they have to, they will start skipping payments, but that can affect how you are viewed by creditors.
“Anytime you miss a payment and it takes time to catch up, those things can affect your credit rating and credit score," said Adriana Molina with Credit Canada.
You should always try to pay your bills on time, but during COVID-19 that may not be possible. If you do skip or delay paying a bill you must let the company or service provider know in advance or it could affect your credit rating.
There are mortgage and credit card deferral programs that allow for reduced or delayed payments but you have to apply and be accepted for them.
“These programs are only on a case by case basis so you have to be in contact with your creditors in order to access them. So if you just stop making payments it's going to affect your credit history and your credit score," said Molina.
In the survey, dubbed the “2020 Survival Guide Study”, Canadians were asked which bill would they skip paying, if they absolutely had to. 30 per cent said credit card bills, 26 per cent said utility bills, 8 per cent said their mortgage or rent, 7 per cent said insurance and 4 per cent said car payments.
“Normally, you might focus on paying down your highest-interest rate debts first, but these aren't normal times,” said Scott Medintz with Consumer reports. “ You may have to focus instead on essentials, such as rent, utilities, and pharmacy bills”
The survey also found that millennials are more likely to use credits cards to help pay debts during COVID-19. Older Canadians are more likely to dig into their savings, stocks and RRSPs.
If you start taking on additional debt and you start applying for more credit these things can also be red flags and could negatively impact your credit score.
A low credit score means you could be denied credit and have to pay higher interest rates on any loans or credit you are able to secure.