Most people probably think that Canada is a peaceful country with fewer issues and problems when compared to its neighbor, the North America. However, things may not go down so peacefully in that country as financial issues and matters may dominate the condition of Canada recently. At least, that’s what implied from the Equifax Canada National Consumer Credit Report.
There are some things that bother this international company: the growing debt and the security matters. It seems that Canadians are looking forward to newer credits; their demands are increasing that the total debt is now reaching $1.5 trillion. Second, the security matters are basically parts of the company’s strategies to deal with digital attacks and threats, including fraud and identity theft. However, they still have to deal with problems despite their best efforts because their customers aren’t really careful about their financial activities. Among other issues that bother the company, these two crucial matters are enough to give everyone involved a headache.
The Growing Debt
Because of changes in economic condition, consumers are demanding for new credits, including mortgages. This is quite a significant increase when compared to the situation a year ago or the one in the third quarter of 2014. A year ago, the number of debts ‘was’ only $1.42 trillion a year, and it was $1.513 trillion in the third quarter of 2014, which means that there has been 1.1% and 7.7% increase. The trend is showing another change where today’s loans are mostly caused by auto loans and installment, while the one in last year was mostly caused by credit cards.
Regina Malina, the senior director of Equifax Canada, claims that this is the trend in Canadian economy. With the significant decrease in oil prices, business owners and consumers are often caught off guard, causing issues in the stability of credit indicators and key economic. From the report, it is pretty obvious that Canadian average debt – not including mortgages – has experienced increase to $20.967 which means that it increases to 2.9%. It causes a big concern from Statistic Canada about debt to income ration that is reaching the level of 163%.
Despite the growing debts, delinquency rate and bankruptcy has been stable and even experiencing decrease. In the fourth quarter of 2014, the national delinquency rate was reaching 1.09%, which was considered the lowest since 2008. The delinquency rate was experiencing 2.8% of the decrease while the bankruptcy rate was less than 5% decrease. Malina claims that the bankruptcy and delinquency rates have decreased within the last three years, so they are going to observe and monitor the condition very closely.
So far, Canadian finance ministry and the Bank of Canada has shown their concerns over the debt matters, giving warnings to consumers that they could deal with serious financial issue when the rates are going up. So far, most of the Canadians are optimistic that they can manage their debts efficiently and effectively, but it shouldn’t be taken for granted. From the data, the West experiences increasing in new credit demands, with credit card sector increases to 4.4%, mortgages increase to 9.2%, and installment loans increase to 10.8%. So far, they do experience increase in new credit demand, but the trend has been slowing down – not as fast as the first quarter.
As if the problem of debts weren’t enough, Equifax Canada has to deal with fraud, identity theft, and also basic security matters. Most of their clients neglect the importance of doing safe activities in keeping their personal identity and data. So, the company finally provides helpful tips as a part of their Fraud Prevention Month actions. Here are some of the tips that may be handy and useful for you.
Be smart, be wise, and be careful. Always trust your guts when looking at any financial activities or promises. If something looks too good to be true, then simply walk away. Be extra careful of any websites or emails that are offering incredible offers, great deals, and also monetary windfalls.
Always check the credit report. Do it at least once a year. If you notice something suspicious or anything wrong with your report, report it right away. If you think it is important, you can subscribe for your credit file ongoing monitoring, to see whether there are suspicious activities that you aren’t aware of. This can be very helpful to detect any wrongdoings and minimizing the effects.
Always secure the computer. Most threats and attacks happening these days are done with digital world. Activate firewalls and always update your antivirus software. If it is possible, use more than one antivirus program. Be aware of using your computers or other mobile gadgets. Even if it is your personal devices, always log out after every activity.
Use strong passwords. Make ones that aren’t easily predicted. It would be better if you can combine numbers, letters, and characters.
Your personal information only belongs to you; not everyone else. Even official bank staffs won’t be asking for your passwords or other personal data, especially through phones. Keep everything to yourself. Make sure to do any financial activities through the official website that has a padlock icon on it. Don’t be fooled by easily being lured to fake sites.
Always secure your mobile devices. Mobile gadgets are more prone and vulnerable to hacks and viruses. Always update the security system and when you have to download apps, make sure to only use trusted and reliable sources.
When you are throwing away documents, especially the ones related to your financials, insurance forms, or credit application, be sure to shred them. Tossing them into the garbage doesn’t mean that you destroy them; you only feed them to identity theft who can easily rummage through your garbage bin.
Cybercrime is something common in Canada, and 54% of it is about the fraud. It also costs the national $30 billion per year to deal with the issue. Doing those tips may seem overly simple and easy, but Equifax Canada believes that these seemingly simple actions can really help minimizing the chances of fraud and identity theft.