CALGARY, ALBERTA -- (Marketwired) -- 04/24/13 -- Repeated warnings by Canadian government and Bank of Canada officials about the risks of over borrowing amid record-high consumer debt levels expose serious concerns about the lending habits of credit card companies. By offering low-interest introductory rates and reward incentives, credit card companies are creating a false sense of security, encouraging consumers to spend their way to cash back bonuses or travel rewards, and consumer debt.
David Smith, President of Personal Bankruptcy Canada, a nationwide network of independent trustee practices that help people deal with debt, asserts that Canadians are "losing their cognitive connection to cash."
The most recent data from the Canadian Bankers Association indicates that there are over 74 million VISA and MasterCards in Canada and over $301 billion was charged to them- there were only $606 million in cash withdrawals from bank-owned ABMs in the same period.
"Credit cards and debit cards with overdraft protection lead many to lose track of their financial realities," says David Smith. "Before, you either had cash or you didn't. Plastic payment methods allow, and even encourage, people to spend absent-mindedly because they have no tangible reminders of how much they are spending and when they spend more than they earn."
According to a report released earlier this month by Moneris Solutions Corporation, both debit card and credit card spending are up over last year. Overall Canadians have now racked up more than $477 billion in consumer debt, and the burden is starting to become too much for some debtors. New stats from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) show that the total number of insolvencies in Canada increased by 20.9 percent in January.
"Through aggressive marketing tactics, credit card companies and banks have positioned plastic as a preferred method of payment over cash. That's why so many Canadians shrug at the idea of spending with credit. In reality, each time they use their cards they are taking out a high interest, unsecured loan and it's costing many people thousands of dollars in interest. It becomes an endless cycle of debt that's hard to escape," says Smith. "Credit card debt is the single most common type of debt burdening those who wind up in bankruptcy," he adds.
Those who find themselves overwhelmed with debt are advised to speak with a personal bankruptcy trustee. Trustees are the only debt professionals that can offer a full range of debt relief services, and guarantee protection from creditors, including credit card companies.
About Personal Bankruptcy Canada
Personal Bankruptcy Canada is a free website that provides consumers with general debt and bankruptcy resources, including access to highly qualified bankruptcy trustees across the Canadian provinces and valuable education information on bankruptcy and debt management.
Personal Bankruptcy Canada member trustees from across the country are available for local media interviews regarding bankruptcy, debt and financial literacy. To schedule an interview please contact Angela Joyce.
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