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How to consolidate debt in Calgary

Consolidate your debt by getting a new loan or negotiating for better terms.

Consolidating your debt can help you pay it off faster and with lower interest rates. We break down the most popular types of debt consolidation in Calgary, including consolidation loans, balance transfer credit cards, debt settlement services and debt management programs. Find out more about which option might be the best fit for you.

Your options: Summary of debt consolidation in Calgary, Alberta

Debt consolidation optionWhat is itWho is it suited for
Unsecured debt consolidation loan
  • Loans up to $50,000 – the decision is based on your credit score with no need for collateral
  • Rates start at 5.99%, which is slightly higher than secured loans
  • Hurts your credit score if you default on your loan
  • Loan can be used to pay off all types of debt
Best for people with good to excellent credit with no asset for collateralCompare loans
Learn more
Secured debt consolidation loan
  • Secured by an asset such as your house
  • Rates from 5.4%, which is slightly lower than unsecured loans
  • Collateral can be repossessed if you default
  • Loan can be used to pay off all forms of debt
Best for people with good or bad credit who own a valuable assetCompare loans
Learn more
Balance transfer credit card
  • Credit cards that give you a low promo interest rate when you transfer balances from other higher interest cards
  • Promotional rate between 0% and 3.5%. Rates usually increase to 8.99–19.99% after the promo period.
  • Additional transfer fees from 1% to 3% of the amount transferred may need to be paid
Best for people dealing exclusively with credit card debtCompare cards
Learn more
Orderly Payment of Debts (OPD)
  • This debt repayment arrangement is available only through Money Mentors in Alberta.
  • Apply to the court for an order to consolidate your unsecured debt into one monthly payment with an interest rate of 5% and a repayment period of up to three years.
Best for people looking for a low fixed interest rate.Learn more
Debt management program
  • Services that negotiate with your creditors to reduce your interest or your repayment period.
  • Unlike debt settlement programs, you’ll still repay everything you owe.
  • Can be through a non-profit credit counselling agency or a for-profit firm.
Best for people who have the money to repay their debts, but want to reduce their monthly payments or interest rates.Learn more
Debt settlement
  • Services that negotiate on your behalf with your creditors to reduce your overall debt load and pay them off in one lump sum.
  • Can significantly decrease your credit score.
Best for people who can’t afford their debt, don’t qualify for financing and want to stop punitive action by creditors.Learn more
Consumer proposal
  • Formal, legally binding process administered by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT).
  • Your LIT works with you to develop an offer to pay creditors a percentage of what you owe them or extend the time you have to pay off the debts or both.
Best for people with bad credit who don’t qualify for financing and want to stop punitive action by creditors.Learn more

1. Compare unsecured debt consolidation loans in Calgary

1 - 5 of 5
Name Product Interest Rate Loan Amount Loan Term Requirements Link
SkyCap Financial Personal Loan
12.99% - 39.99%
$500 - $10,000
9 - 60 months
Requirements: min. income $1,600/month, stable employment, min. credit score 550, no bankruptcy
Go to site
More Info
Mogo Personal Loan
9.90% - 46.96%
$200 - $35,000
6 - 60 months
Requirements: min. income $13,000/year, min. credit score 500
Go to site
More Info
Loans Canada Debt Consolidation Loan
5.40% - 46.96%
$300 - $50,000
3 - 60 months
Requirements: min. credit score 300
Go to site
More Info
LoanConnect Debt Consolidation Loan
5.99% - 46.96%
$500 - $35,000
12 - 60 months
Requirements: min. credit score 300
Go to site
More Info
National Bank Personal Loan
9.65% - 12.45%
N/A
6 - 60 months
More Info
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Compare up to 4 providers

Features of unsecured debt consolidation loans

  • How to apply. Compare rates and apply for pre-approval with several lenders. When you decide on the lender you want to go with, fill out a formal application online. Submit the required documents and wait for a loan decision.
  • How much it costs. You could pay as low as 5.99% in interest if you have excellent credit and as high as 46.96% with bad credit. You may also be on the hook for origination fees, prepayment fees, late fees and NSF fees, depending on the lender.
  • Pros. It’s an easy application with no need for collateral. You can use the funds to pay off any kind of debt.
  • Cons. It comes with higher interest rates than secured loans. It’s difficult to qualify if you have bad credit. You could hurt your credit score if you default.

Unsecured debt consolidation loans in Canada

2. Compare secured debt consolidation loans in Calgary

1 - 3 of 3
Name Product Interest Rate Loan Amount Loan Term Requirements Link
LoanConnect Debt Consolidation Loan
5.99% - 46.96%
$500 - $35,000
12 - 60 months
Requirements: min. credit score 300
Go to site
More Info
Loans Canada Debt Consolidation Loan
5.40% - 46.96%
$300 - $50,000
3 - 60 months
Requirements: min. credit score 300
Go to site
More Info
National Bank Personal Loan
9.65% - 12.45%
N/A
6 - 60 months
More Info
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Compare up to 4 providers

Features of secured debt consolidation loans

  • How to apply. Compare rates and apply for pre-approval with several lenders. Fill out an application with the lender of your choice. Provide documentation to prove the value of the asset you want to use as collateral. Wait for a loan decision.
  • How much it costs. These loans usually start at the prime rate for excellent credit, which is currently 5.4%. Your rates will be higher with bad credit. You could also owe origination fees, prepayment penalties, late fees and NSF fees, depending on the lender.
  • Pros. It comes with lower interest rates than unsecured loans. You could qualify for higher amounts. There’s a better chance of approval if you have bad credit.
  • Cons. There’s a chance of losing your asset if you default. The amount you get approved for is often tied to the equity in your asset.

Secured debt consolidation loans in Canada

3. Compare balance transfer credit cards in Calgary

Name Product Balance Transfer Rate Balance Transfer Fee Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
BMO CashBack Mastercard
0.99% for the first 9 months (then 22.99%)
2%
20.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to max. spend of $2,500). Plus, get a rate of 0.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 2% fee applies to transferred balances.
Tangerine World Mastercard
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
3%
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 15% cash back (up to $150) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months Until December 29, 2022. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
1.95% for the first 6 months (then 19.95%)
3%
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn 15% cash back (up to $150) when you spend $1,000 in the first 2 months Until December 29, 2022. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
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Features of balance transfer credit cards

  • How to apply. Compare balance transfer credit cards to find the best deal. Fill out an application for the card you choose, and wait for approval. Your card should come in the mail a few days later, and you can then transfer your balances from other cards.
  • How much it costs. The promotional rate is usually between 0% and 3.5%. Once the promo ends after six to eight months, rates increase to between 8.99% and 19.99%. You may have to pay balance transfer fees of 1–3% on the amount transferred.
  • Pros. It comes with very low interest rates in the first few months. Many cards come with no annual fee.
  • Cons. You could pay high balance transfer fees. There are no same-bank transfers. Your rates will increase after the promo offer expires.

Balance transfer credit cards guide

4. Orderly Payment of Debts

  • How to apply. Book a free financial assessment with Money Mentors – a firm that specializes in Orderly Payment of Debts (OPD). Speak to a credit counsellor to determine if the OPD program is the right fit for you.
  • How much it costs. In addition to the interest rate, you may be charged a fee to administer the program.
  • Pros. It comes with only 5% interest and no start-up fees. An OPD arrangement can stop punitive action from creditors.
  • Cons. It can hurt your credit score for up to two years and is not suitable for consolidating secured debts.

What is Money Mentors?

Money Mentors is a non-profit credit counselling organization that’s the exclusive provider of the Orderly Payment of Debts (OPD) program on behalf of the government of Alberta. It offers free credit counselling, financial assessment services, budgeting workshops and money coaching.

It doesn’t charge fees to customers since the majority of its funding comes from a mandatory fee charged to creditors.

5. Debt management program

  • How to apply. Book a free consultation with a non-profit credit counselling organization or a for-profit firm for a fee. Meet with an agent to discuss your finances and decide if a debt management program is the right option for you.
  • How much it costs. The service is free with a non-profit credit counselling organization, but you may pay for lawyers or other services along the way. You’ll typically pay a set-up fee and a monthly maintenance fee with a for-profit firm.
  • Pros. It helps to lower your monthly payments and interest rates. There’s no need to apply for financing. It does less damage to your credit score than debt settlement and stops punitive action by creditors.
  • Cons. You may have to pay fees with for-profit firms. It doesn’t usually cover secured debts like mortgages or auto loans. You’ll need to close any credit cards you include in your debt management plan.

Sample of organizations that help with debt management programs

NameHow it worksLocation in Calgary
Debt.ca
  • Call the toll-free hotline to discuss your file with an agent
  • Debt.ca will help you find the best debt relief program for your personal situation
Apply online
Credit Counselling Society
  • Book a free consultation online
  • Meet with an agent to discuss your financial situation
  • Decide if a debt management program is right for you
Online appointments only
Money Mentors
  • Call the toll-free number on the website
  • Book a virtual or in-person appointment
  • Meet with an agent to discuss your finances and decide which debt management option to pursue.
You’ll be matched with a credit counsellor for an online or in-person appointment.

6. Debt settlement

  • How to apply. Book a free consultation with a credit counsellor or licensed for-profit debt settlement firm. If you sign up, an expert will work with your creditors to help reduce your debt.
  • How much it costs. Consultations are free but you’ll often pay thousands of dollars in fees to set up your debt agreement, depending on how much you owe.
  • Pros. It can stop punitive action by creditors (including lawsuits) and can help you avoid bankruptcy.
  • Cons. You could pay high fees, and debt settlement will negatively impact your credit score. Creditors can refuse to settle your debts. There could also be tax implications.

Sample of organizations that help with debt settlement in Calgary

NameOverviewLocation in Calgary
Debt.ca
  • Website that provides a comprehensive list of debt settlement services in Alberta
  • Free to get matched with a service that fits your needs
  • Doesn’t provide debt settlement services or loans directly
Apply online
Credit Counselling Society
  • Experts negotiate a debt settlement with your creditors to reduce the debt you owe or give you a longer time frame for repayment
  • Accredited non-profit so basic services are free of charge
Online appointments only

7. Consumer proposal

  • How to apply. Book a free consultation with a licensed insolvency trustee. Meet with an agent to discuss your finances and decide if a consumer proposal is the right option for you. An expert will then work with your creditors to help reduce your debt.
  • How much it costs. Consultations are free, but you may pay thousands of dollars in fees to set up a consumer proposal, depending on how much you owe.
  • Pros. It can reduce your overall loan amount, extend your payment period and stop interest charges. It can also stop punitive action by creditors.
  • Cons. Stays on your credit report for up to three years after you finish payment, and you may have to pay high fees. It can also significantly lower your credit score and doesn’t cover secured debts.

Sample of companies that help with consumer proposals

CompanyOverviewLocation in Calgary
Bromwich+Smith
  • Helps with credit counselling, bankruptcy and consumer proposals
  • Free consultation, fees can be up to $1,500 plus a percentage of the amount you pay back
  • Pay fees directly out of proposal funds – there’s no upfront payments
800 5 Ave SW Suite 800, Calgary, AB T2P 3T6
BNA Debt Solutions Calgary
  • Helps with credit counselling, bankruptcy and consumer proposals
  • Free consultation over the phone or in-person
  • Undisclosed fees
703 64 Ave SE #150, Calgary, AB T2H 2C3

How to get the right debt consolidation in Calgary

Think about these factors when choosing the best debt consolidation in Calgary for your situation:

  • Type of debt. A balance transfer card might be the best option for credit card debt. For combined debts, you might want to go with a secured/unsecured loan. You can also consider a debt management or settlement plan if you don’t qualify for financing.
  • Amount you owe. For smaller amounts, think about financing or a debt management plan. For larger amounts, you may want to consider a consumer proposal or some other type of debt settlement.
  • What you can afford. Aim for financing or a debt management plan if you’re able to make your payments on time. You may want to think about debt settlement or a consumer proposal if you need a lower monthly payment.
  • Available assets. Consider a secured loan to get lower interest rates if you have an asset to secure your payments, such as your car or house. Just be aware that your asset can be repossessed if you default on your payments.
  • Fees. You’ll end up paying fees (or interest rates) with most forms of debt consolidation in Calgary. To avoid paying too much, your best option is to ask about fees ahead of time to get the best rate or go with a non-profit credit counselling service.
  • Credit score. You may have issues qualifying for financing with a low credit score. Some types of debt consolidation in Calgary can also severely damage your credit. Avoid debt settlement and consumer proposals if you need to maintain a good credit score.

Calgary personal finances at a glance

Calgary landscapeBetween credit cards, lines of credit and other loans (excluding mortgages), Albertans have the highest rate of debt among all provinces in Canada.

Debt in Calgary

According to Equifax, the average non-mortgage debt for Calgary residents in the second quarter of 2022 was $24,987. This is compared to Edmonton residents, who carried a slightly lower debt of $24,259. The average level of debt for people across Canada was $20,744.

Income in Calgary

According to Statistics Canada, the average income in Calgary was $44,800 in 2020. This is on par with the provincial average of $44,800, and slightly lower than the average income in Edmonton ($45,600). These figures include all types of income, such as employment, rental, investment, retirement and government benefits.

Frequently asked questions

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