Canadian consumers are concerned about their ability to pay their bills on time, manage their debt, and protect their personal financial data, according to a consumer survey* conducted by Equifax Canada ahead of Financial Literacy Month. Nearly half of those surveyed indicated that they have never received financial education. Below are some tips that lenders can use to help incorporate financial literacy into their practices.
Understand the Importance of Financial Literacy
The importance of financial literacy continues to grow as concerns over bills, debt, and identity theft rise amongst Canadians. Julie Kuzmic, Equifax Canada’s Senior Compliance Officer, Consumer Advocacy states "Financial education is an essential building block towards ﬁnancial resilience to help people make informed ﬁnancial decisions and protect their well-being… We need to talk about money more to empower Canadians of all ages and backgrounds to build ﬁnancial resilience.”
Consumers should be watching their credit reports, including their Equifax credit report, and scores in the context of fluctuating debt levels to manage their financial well-being and access to financing now and in the future. Lenders can use the strategies below to help inform their fraud prevention strategies and potentially increase lending opportunities.
Utilize Key Consumer Findings
Lenders should watch for signs of financial stress within pockets of consumers. Equifax Canada’s consumer survey results provides some insight into potential areas of consumer concern:
36 per cent of younger adults (aged 18-34) disclosed that they have missed a bill payment this year compared to 23 per cent of all respondents.
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.
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.
Pinpointing pockets of consumer stress and concern can help lenders minimize risk by monitoring changes in spending and payment behaviour. Additionally, by understanding the anxieties and stresses of certain consumer groups, lenders can connect more personally with these groups, offering counsel and solutions that address their needs.
Build Trust Between Customers and the Financial Industry
Offering financial education resources to consumers can help to build their trust within the financial industry. Consumers can visit Equifax Canada’s education hub to learn more about how credit works and how to help protect their identities. The site oﬀers insights on how diﬀerent actions may aﬀect credit scores and provides resources to help Canadians improve their ﬁnancial resilience. Lenders can leverage Equifax Credit Health to empower their customers with access to their financial health information. They can also tune into the Equifax Canada Market Pulse Quarterly Credit Trends webinars to gain further insight into the current economic climate.
We want to help Canadians live their financial best. If you want to learn more about how understanding consumer credit trends can help inform lending decisions, please contact your Equifax Account Representative. You can reach us directly at 1-855-233-9226 and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
*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.
This article is published by Equifax Canada Co.® 2023. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced, copied or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a retrieval system of any nature, without the prior permission of Equifax Canada Co. This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal or business advice.
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