Becca Mitchell, Author at Refresh Financial
credit cards for bad credit in canada   Great news! The Refresh Financial Secured Cards are back in stock. We experienced such high demand for the cards at the end of last year we were unable to fulfill all the requests, however the cards are now available again. Refresh Financial’s Secured Card is used just like a regular credit card but you must first put down a security deposit before you can use the card. That’s where the “Secured” part comes in. It means you won’t go into debt while using the card, but you can still make online purchases, book hotels etc. all while building your credit score. We are also thrilled to announce a major update that will vastly improve the experience you have with our Secured Card. We have added e-Transfer Request Money for making your initial deposit. This means we can get your card out to you much sooner and you can start building your credit score! We know you have lots of choice when it comes to choosing a secured card, however, the Refresh Financial Secured Card is different because our focus is on helping build your credit score. We are constantly seeking to make the credit building experience for our clients better, releasing new updates to the client dashboard such as our credit utilization calculator that shows how your spending and repayment behaviour impacts your credit score. Want to get your hands on the Secured Card? Apply online now! build-credit Have you heard? Refresh Financial has been officially acquired by Borrowell, Canada’s leading credit education company and one of the country’s largest fintech companies. The Toronto-based company has helped over 1.5 million Canadians access their credit score and report, while also providing personalized credit coaching tools and financial product recommendations based on their credit profile.  With Borrowell’s mission to make financial stability possible for all Canadians and our mission to help Canadians from any background build a better financial reputation, the two companies make the perfect match! Here’s what Refresh founder and CEO, Michael Wendland, has to say about the exciting news. “Borrowell has been a great partner for many years and I am truly excited about further integrating Refresh’s products into their platform. I know that as a combined organization, we can play an important role during these times in providing Canadians from all backgrounds with access to credit, helping them not only manage today but thrive tomorrow.” As Borrowell’s co-founder and CEO, Andrew Graham states, being part of the Borrowell team will allow Refresh to offer a wider range of financial tools and products to clients.  “With an expanded team across the country and a comprehensive suite of credit building solutions, we’re eager to help even more Canadians access credit products that meet their specific needs and maximize their long-term financial health. All Canadians deserve a fair shot at building credit history, accessing affordable credit, and reaching their financial goals. We believe we can help make that a reality.”  By combining forces with Borrowell, Refresh Financial can reach even more underserved Canadians and provide them with tangible credit building solutions. Together, we can help all Canadians build a better financial reputation and achieve their goals. If you’re a Refresh Financial customer, this acquisition doesn’t impact your account or your current standing with us. You can still reach out to your client representative with any questions or concerns you may have about your account with us.  Check out Borrowell’s full press release! best secured card Simple Rate has put together a list of the best Secured Cards available in Canada and Refresh Financial is proud to have been rated as the best overall secured card in Canada for no credit check with guaranteed approval. Simple Rate understands that most people’s financial situations are not the same, and therefore there is no one-size-fits-all credit card. With all the different credit cards on the market today, it can be difficult to find the best one for you. Simple Rate’s mission is to educate Canadians on how to use credit cards effectively to earn the most rewards and cash back. The Value of a Credit Card Credit cards have two main benefits. First, they provide access to funds when you don’t necessarily have the money at the time. That’s why it’s called credit. While you will pay high interest rates when carrying a balance on a credit card, it is nice to have the option to “buy now, pay later”, especially in case of an emergency. Secondly, credit cards are extremely useful in this digital age for making online purchases and reservations. Without a credit card you will find it challenging to rent a car, book a hotel, buy a vacation and more. Credit Cards for Bad Credit When applying for a regular credit card, the lender will check your credit score. It makes sense as they are giving you access to credit. They want assurances that you will pay it back on time, and your credit score reflects that. Upon seeing a poor credit score they are less likely to approve you for a credit card. For Canadians with poor credit, there is less choice of credit cards available to them, and a secured card is sometimes the only – and best – option for spending flexibility while safely building credit. You put down a deposit which in most cases becomes your credit limit. This protects the lender in case you don’t make your monthly payments while giving you the benefits of having a credit card. Used responsibly, a secured credit card allows you to establish a history of repayment of debts which, overtime, boosts your credit score. Learn more about Refresh Financial’s Secured Card and apply online in less than 20 minutes! Guaranteed approval, no credit checks! Here at Refresh Financial we are proud of our commitment to ongoing system and process updates that enhance the customer experience for you, our valued clients, and we are constantly innovating to respond to the needs of our clients. Early last year we launched an automated application process for our custom credit building solutions as well as a fully functional client dashboard to make building your credit score a breeze. In the 12 months since, we have released several major updates, including: Today we are thrilled to announce another major update that will vastly improve the experience Refresh customers have with our secured card product. We have added e-Transfer Request Money into the dashboard for making faster secured card balance payments, and for increasing secured card limits. Request an e-Transfer to make a balance payment on your secured card  E-Transfer Request Money is a feature of the INTERAC e-Transfer service that allows Refresh Financial to send you a request for funds for the amount of your balance that you wish to pay off. You make the initial payment request from your client dashboard which initiates a secure INTERAC e-Transfer money request to the bank account we have on file. You can respond to the money request either through online or mobile banking. Payments towards your Refresh Secured Card balance will be applied much faster than the previous Pre-Authorized Debit (PAD) method of payment, freeing up your available funds sooner! We know the PAD method of making a payment wasn’t fast enough for most of our clients which is why we’ve invested in implementing a faster alternative. We want our clients to have access to their money whenever they need it, and the two-weeks it took to apply a PAD payment toward your card balance was simply too long. Request an e-Transfer to increase your secured card limit  An e-transfer can also be used to request an increase to the limit on your secured card. Once again, from your Refresh dashboard navigate to the option to increase your card limit and follow the steps to initiate an e-transfer money request. Request an e-Transfer to pay your initial security deposit  We have also added this same Request e-Transfer feature to the initial application when clients send us their security deposit. Ready to apply for a Secured Card? Lately, we have had feedback that the wait times to reach our call centre are too long. In most cases, our care agents are answering calls from clients asking questions that are answered directly within your dashboard!  If you have a question about the Credit Builder Loan, the Secured Card, reporting to credit bureaus or anything else related to our products and services, navigate to the Knowledge Base  from within the Help Centre of your Refresh Dashboard before you call or email us. We’ve built a pretty neat Answerbot to scan through our database of questions and answers so you can quickly and easily find what you’re looking for.   Start typing your question in the space available and as you type, all the questions related to what you are asking will be presented to you, with answers.   If you aren’t able to get an answer to your question (but we are pretty confident that we have almost every question covered!) you can open a help ticket from within the dashboard to ask your specific question. This is the quickest way to get an answer rather than calling in!   Check out Knowledge Base and Answerbot now!   bad credit loans Have you heard of bad credit loans? Your credit score is one of the biggest factors – sometimes the only factor – that goes into determining if you will be approved for a loan. In most cases, if your credit score is too low you will be denied a loan as the lender views you as too high of a risk to lend to. There are, however, some lenders that are prepared to loan money to anyone, even people with a low credit score. Bad credit loans may seem like a good idea, but in reality, they should be avoided unless you’re absolutely desperate. Never take out one of these loans for a ‘want’ such as a new car, a bigger TV, or a vacation. They should be taken out with extreme caution for something unavoidable. Here’s why: The Drawbacks of Bad Credit Loans in Canada A bad credit loan is risky for the lender for two reasons: (i) bad credit loans are unsecured. If you do not make your repayment, the lender has no way of recouping their money. (ii) borrowers with lower credit score are more likely to not-repay the loan – their low credit score has indicated that this has happened in the past.
  1. To compensate for these risks, lenders charge a premium interest rate. Whereas with a good credit score you might pay 5% in interest for a cash loan, with a bad credit loan you may be paying up to 50%! The reason for this is that the lender is trying to recoup as much of their money early on as possible, before the likelihood of defaulting on the loan gets higher.
  2. Bad credit loan providers have sometimes been known to be predatory lenders, charging many hidden fees to ensure they get as much money out of a desperate borrower as possible, although the regulatory landscape for bad credit loans has tightened in recent years.
  3. You may find yourself in an endless cycle of debt with bad credit loans. Borrowers often find themselves unable to afford to make the full payments and subsequently, roll their debt over into a new loan, which includes more fees and high interest. It can be a situation that becomes impossible to get out of.
Bad credit loans are not uncommon in Canada. However, it’s important that if you do decide to take out one of these loans, you do your research and ensure you are going with a reputable company rather than a loan shark. It’s imperative that you pay back the loan on time and in full if you want to build some credit as a result of the loan. If you default on any of the payments your score is going to get worse and worse, and you may find yourself in too big of a hole to dig yourself out of. Use extreme caution when taking on a bad credit loan. Refresh Financial offers custom credit building solutions to Canadians wanting to increase their credit score. Our products are safe and effective, ensuring credit is built without going into debt. build-credit increase your credit score This is a question we have often been asked here at Refresh. There is a belief that if you are not using a credit card, the account should be closed to increase your credit score. But is that correct? The short answer is no. In fact, closing a credit card account that you are no longer using could do the opposite and have a negative impact on your credit score. It all comes down to how you are using your other sources of credit.

Let’s take a deeper look.

In this scenario, Bob has three credit cards and a line of credit. His line of credit is $10,000 and he’s used $4,000 of it on home renovations. His credit card limits are $2,500, $10,000 and $5,000. On each of those cards, his balance is $1,000, $3,000 and $0. Bob has been working hard to pay down his debts, and with his $5,000 credit card balance at $0, he wonders if he should close the account. However, look what happens to his credit usage percentage if he decides to do this:

What should Bob do?  

The right course of action for Bob depends on his personal circumstance and his spending habits. Bob is a big spender, and he is easily tempted by the available credit and knows that if he doesn’t close his credit card account he might end up spending it. So, he must weigh up the options: For Bob, the answer is easy. Close the account. It’s better for him to work a little bit harder on building his score and paying off more debt after closing the account than to be in debt that he will struggle to pay off. If he ends up spending the extra credit available, he won’t be doing his credit score any favours anyway, as his credit usage percentage will increase with the additional spending. Available credit will only work in Bob’s credit score’s favour if it remains available credit, not used credit! If, unlike Bob, you know you can have credit available without being tempted to spend it, then keep the account open (and maybe just cut up your card instead) so that your available credit remains as high as possible. There are several factors that help increase your credit score, but how much of your available credit you are spending is a big one, accounting for 30% of your credit score. If you struggle with using a credit card responsibly, perhaps it’s time to consider a secured card like the one we have at Refresh Financial. A secured card will help increase your credit score without the risk of you going into debt, plus we have a pretty neat tool that will warn you when you’ve started using too much of your available credit so you can quickly pay some of your balance off and continue working towards a better credit score. build-credit We are excited to officially launch Knowledge Base as part of Refresh Financial’s client dashboard. What is Knowledge Base you ask? Well, you would be forgiven for thinking that Knowledge Base is just a fancy name for FAQs, however, we feel it deserves a more fitting name. These aren’t just your run-of-the-mill Frequently Asked Questions. No, we have gone one step further and answered every possible question we could think of related to Refresh Financial’s products – the Credit Builder Loan and the Secured Card – as well as the Refresh Dashboard and Reporting to Credit Bureaus. We want to answer your questions before you’ve even thought of them with the purpose of providing absolute clarity of our products. For example, many people ask us “How many days does it take to get my secured card deposit back”. The answer is 60-90 days. Fewer people ask us why it takes that many days, but we feel our clients deserves to know more. It takes 60-90 days because first there is a 60-day hold on all deposits before they are processed for refund to ensure all merchant transactions have settled. It can then take up to 30 days for the refund to be processed by Refresh Financial. Being transparent with our clients is one of our top priorities. We aren’t trying to hide anything, so letting you – our valuable clients – know what, where, when, why and how things happen behind the scenes here at Refresh is the ultimate goal of Knowledge Base.

How do I access Knowledge Base?

Knowledge Base is available from within the Help Centre of your Refresh Dashboard. You can access the Help Centre in the menu.                           Check out the Knowledge Base from your dashboard and let us know if you have any questions that are not answered!   Join Refresh Academy and Kevin Cochran, Co-Founder of Enriched Academy – an online platform dedicated to delivering inspiring financial education – as we share useful advice and tips each month to help with all aspects of your credit score and finances. Next Webinar: Date: TBD Time: TBD Topic: TBD

What is Refresh Academy?

Refresh Academy comprises convenient, online resources including engaging financial videos that make money concepts simple. Course topics for self-education include: You probably already know that making your debt repayments on time has the biggest impact on your credit score. When a lender has provided you with credit – whether that’s credit a card, a line of credit, a car loan, even a mortgage – they expect you to pay them back when it is due. Making your payments on time accounts for 35% of your credit score. Fewer people, however, know that 30% of your credit score is influenced by your credit utilization rate.

What is credit utilization rate?

Your credit utilization rate is the amount of available credit you have to your name, compared to how much you have used. For maximum credit building, your credit utilization rate should be under 30%. Let’s take a look at an example: As mentioned above, credit utilization applies only to revolving credit. However, it is critical to remember that this applies to ALL your sources of revolving credit (credit cards and lines of credit). Here’s an example: As you can see, even though the two credit cards are carrying a balance that makes the credit utilization rate 30% or under, when all three tradelines are combined the credit utilization rate is 45%. In this instance, it would be best to pay down the line of credit as soon as possible.

Free credit utilization calculator

Given the importance of credit utilization rate, we have added a new free feature to our website! With our credit utilization calculator, you can see exactly what your utilization rate is and how much you need to reduce it to get your rate to 30% or less. Find the calculator at Here you can see the credit utilization rate is 51% when both credit cards are considered: By reducing the balance to $500 and $700, the credit utilization rate drops to 30%. This tool is free to use and we encourage you to enter all your sources of revolving credit to see what your current credit utilization rate is! If you do not have a credit card, consider applying for the Refresh Financial secured card. Having a source of revolving credit reporting to the credit bureaus can have a significant impact on your score – not to mention the fact that simply having a mix of both revolving and installment credit impacts 10% of your score! build-credit