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, Oct. 30, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 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.”

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.

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.”

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.

About Equifax
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

Media Contacts:

Andrew Findlater
SELECT Public Relations
(647) 444-1197
Heather Aggarwal
Equifax Canada Media Relations