Canadians Cite Concerns Over Bills, Debt, and Identity Theft
Equifax Canada Survey Provides Consumer Perspectives on Credit Awareness and Housing Ahead of Financial Literacy Month
TORONTO, ON, October 30, 2023 – A consumer survey conducted by Equifax Canada ahead of Financial Literacy Month in November found that Canadian consumers are concerned about their ability to pay their bills on time, manage their debt, and protect their personal ﬁnancial data. Nearly half of those surveyed indicated that they have never received ﬁnancial education.
Key ﬁndings from the survey include:
- Younger adults (aged 18-34) appear to be more likely to rely on social media for ﬁnancial education, 42 per cent versus 22 per cent of all respondents.
- 36 per cent of younger adults disclosed that they have missed a bill payment this year compared to 23 per cent of all respondents.
- 52 per cent of respondents aged 18-34 are experiencing anxiety about their personal debt levels, which is signiﬁcantly higher than the overall average of 39 per cent of other respondents.
- 45 per cent of those surveyed worry about paying oﬀ debt (mortgages, student loans), but only 18 per cent have sought professional advice or counselling for debt management.
- 32 per cent of the Canadians surveyed never check their credit reports. Checking credit reports is one of the best ways to spot identity theft early.
"Financial education is an essential building block towards ﬁnancial resilience to help people make informed ﬁnancial decisions and protect their well-being." said Julie Kuzmic, Equifax Canada's Senior Compliance Oﬃcer, Consumer Advocacy. "We need to talk about money more to empower Canadians of all ages and backgrounds to build ﬁnancial resilience. At Equifax, we know that conversations of this kind can matter a great deal in getting a credit card, a mortgage, or rental housing, and we oﬀer a wide range of products and resources on our website to help with ﬁnancial literacy, fraud protection, and credit reporting."
CONCERNS ABOUT HOUSING
Housing aﬀordability is a top concern, with 86 per cent of all respondents saying governments should do more to address the issue. Additionally, 36 per cent expressed concern about their mortgage renewing at a higher interest rate than they can aﬀord, potentially pointing to future ﬁnancial strain. The data also shows that 31 per cent of those surveyed have had to seek additional income due to higher mortgage or rental payments, and 35 per cent worry about job security. Furthermore, 19 per cent indicated that they ﬁnd themselves in a precarious ﬁnancial situation, feeling the need to move due to aﬀordability issues, emphasizing the urgent need for solutions to housing aﬀordability. Half of Canadians surveyed (52 per cent) agree that newcomers face diﬃculties securing housing due to a lack of credit history.
FACING A FINANCIAL SQUEEZE
Younger adults in Canada appear to be feeling the ﬁnancial pinch more acutely than their older counterparts. The survey found that 52 per cent of respondents aged 18-34 are experiencing anxiety about their personal debt levels, signiﬁcantly higher than the overall average of 39 per cent of other respondents. They are also more likely to explore "side hustles" (69 per cent versus 47 per cent) or to consider taking on second or third jobs (48 per cent versus 30 per cent) to increase their income and meet their ﬁnancial obligations.
Concerns about retirement are also prevalent among this age group, with 68 per cent feeling apprehensive.
“It doesn't take much to become entangled in debt, especially in our current economic climate, as we shared in our recent Market Pulse Quarterly Credit Trends report for Q2” said Kuzmic. “Watching your credit reports and scores in the context of your ﬂuctuating debt levels is crucial to manage your ﬁnancial well-being and access ﬁnancing now and in the future.”
DATA PROTECTION AND CREDIT AWARENESS
Among younger adults (aged 18-34), 32 per cent believe they are unlikely to become victims of identity theft, compared to 19 per cent of all respondents. Additionally, younger adults surveyed stated that they are less likely to use up-to-date anti-virus protection for their computers (61 per cent versus 72 per cent of the general population). On a positive note, younger adults are more proactive in regularly checking their credit reports (68 per cent versus 62 per cent of all respondents).
To learn more about how credit works and how to help protect their identity, consumers are encouraged to visit Equifax Canada’s education hub . The site oﬀers insights on how diﬀerent actions may aﬀect credit scores and provides resources to help Canadians improve their ﬁnancial resilience.
*An online survey of 1,564 Canadians was completed between September 15-18, 2023, using Leger’s online panel. The margin of error for this study was +/-2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
At Equifax (NYSE: EFX), we believe knowledge drives progress. As a global data, analytics, and technology company, we play an essential role in the global economy by helping ﬁnancial institutions, companies, employers, and government agencies make critical decisions with greater conﬁdence. Our unique blend of diﬀerentiated data, analytics, and cloud technology drives insights to power decisions to move people forward. Headquartered in Atlanta and supported by 14,000 employees worldwide, Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe, and the Asia Paciﬁc region. For more information, visit Equifax.ca .