CFPB Consumer Education Resources

Resources to provide consumers up-to-date information to protect and manage their finances during the coronavirus pandemic. Resources include:

  • mortgage and housing assistance
  • managing your finances
  • student loans
  • avoiding scams

And resources for specific audiences, including:

  • older adults & their families
  • parents & kids
  • people experiencing homelessness



Unconnected: Funding Shortfalls, Policy Imbalances and How They Are Contributing to Canada’s Digital Underdevelopment

In an effort to understand the challenges and opportunities facing civil society and community organizations working to improve the quality of Canada’s internet, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) commissioned research firm The Strategic Counsel to conduct a qualitative and quantitative assessment of stakeholder perceptions of the nation’s digital philanthropy landscape.
The research results show that digital development in Canada is underfunded, piecemeal, ad hoc and unorganized despite stakeholders sharing many of the same goals. The research results show that digital development in Canada is underfunded, piecemeal, ad hoc and unorganized despite stakeholders sharing many of the same goals – the connecting of Canadians to the internet in an affordable and reliable manner so that they can comfortably and knowledgeably participate in an increasingly digital economy and society. The research also found that these goals and the challenges surrounding them have only become more pressing with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a global crisis that has pushed nearly every aspect of our daily lives online.



Barriers to Digital Equality in Canada

Internet is an essential service. As technology increasingly shapes our world, it is important that Canadians can keep up with the rapid changes, latest skills and emerging industries. Unfortunately, not every resident of Canada is able to access these opportunities to unlock a potentially brighter future.

AIC and ACORN partnered to undertake research with low and moderate income Canadians, in order to uncover the barriers to digital equity that exist in Canada today and shine a light on the urgent need to tackle these barriers to ensure equal access to digital opportunities.



Investing and The COVID-19 Pandemic: Survey of Canadian Investors

The Investor Office conducted this study to further our understanding of the experiences and behaviours of retail investors during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The study explored several topics including the financial preparedness, savings behaviour, financial situations, changing preference, and trading activity of retail investors. Key findings include that 32 per cent of investors have experienced a decline in their financial situation during the pandemic while 16 per cent have experienced an improvement. Half of investors have not done any trading during the pandemic, but of those who have been trading, 63 per cent have increased their holdings.



Creating Financial Security: Financial Planning in Support of a Relative with a Disability

This handbook covers the following topics:

  • An understanding of why financial planning is important and how to align your financial objectives with your life goals and values.
  • An overview of common financial planning components and tools available to individuals with a disability (including the ODSP, RDSP, DTC, and more).
  • Common financial planning strategies for young, middle-aged and older families.
  • Tips for finding a good financial advisor.
  • Common pitfalls people make when it comes to planning for a loved one with a disability, and how to avoid them.



COVID-19 Fraud Alerts

GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca is an Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) website that provides unbiased and independent financial tools to help you make better financial decisions. This series of videos increases awareness of fraudulent activity during COVID-19. Topic include:

  • Pump-and-dump scams
  • Fake government messages
  • Warnings about your finances
  • Work from home scams
  • Signs of investment fraud
  • Quick high-return schemes



State of Fair Banking in Canada 2020: Borrower and Lender Perspectives

The DUCA Impact Lab defines fair banking as any financial product or service that lives up to the following set of principles:

  • Pricing is clear, transparent, and well understood
  • Pricing is representative of the cost of funds, cost of administration and risk, rather than what the market will bear
  • It is clear to all parties how any personal data is being used by the lender
  • Personal data is only used for purposes agreed to by both the borrower and lender
  • The terms and conditions, including penalties and the rights of each party are clearly explained and well understood by both lender and borrower
  • Products are only recommended that will bring the borrower closer to their expressed goals
  • The borrower is clear on what the institution will do (and not do), with deposits to earn a return
  • The assessment of risk is objective, transparent and not prejudicial
  • Financial institution recommendations are not biased towards in-house product recommendations
  • Products empower consumers when they need access to financial services, not just when they do not

Their Fair Banking 2020 report presents data on the following areas:

  • Debt load and its impact on Canadians
  • Financial confidence
  • Divide between borrowers and lenders
  • How financial products are priced
  • Poor credit and ability to access to financial product and services
  • Demographic snapshot: People of colour and Indigenous Canadians

 



Stop Overpaying, Start Switching

In the past year, 1 in 4 Canadians surveyed renegotiated their contracts or switched providers to take advantage of better deals and services.

This webpage provides information on switching or renegotiating your contract to reduce your monthly bills and get better products and services.



Consumer Price Index Personal Inflation Calculator

This interactive tool created by Statistics Canada allows you to explore your personal rate of inflation, based on the goods and services you consume.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is the official measure of inflation in Canada. It is representative of the change in prices experienced by the average Canadian household. However, your personal experience of inflation may not perfectly match the Canadian average due to differences in your spending habits. The Personal Inflation Calculator accounts for those differences and provides a measure of inflation unique to you.



2019 Financial Literacy Annual Report

The 2019 Financial Literacy Annual Report of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau highlights the Bureau’s Start Small, Save Up campaign, the Office of Financial Education’s foundational research, in conjunction with the Office of Older Americans, to understand the pathways to financial well-being, the Office of Servicemembers Affairs’ Misadventures in Money Management online training program, the Office of Older Americans’ Managing Someone Else’s Money guides, and the Office of Community Affairs’ Your Money, Your Goals toolkit, along with other direct to consumer tools, community outreach channels, and areas of research.



2020 Financial Literacy Annual Report

The 2020 Financial Literacy Annual Report details the United States' Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection's financial literacy strategy and activities to improve the financial literacy of consumers. Congress specifically charged the Bureau with conducting financial education programs and ensuring consumers receive timely and understandable information to make responsible decisions about financial transactions. Empowering consumers to help themselves, protect their own interests, and choose the financial products and services that best fit their needs is vital to preventing consumer harm and building financial well-being. Overall, this report describes the Bureau’s efforts in a broad range of financial literacy areas relevant to consumers’ financial lives. It highlights our work, including the Bureau's:

  • Response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Pivot to financial resilience
  • Start Small, Save Up campaign
  • Foundational research to understand the pathways to financial well-being
  • Misadventures in Money Management online training program
  • Managing Someone Else’s Money guides
  • Your Money, Your Goals toolkit
  • Paying for College tool
  • Direct to consumer tools, community outreach channels, and areas of research



Guide de recours : Lors d’un conflit avec un fournisseur de communication

A guide for consumers to help with problems related to communications services. Information is provided to allow consumers to better assert their rights and facilitate the resolution of a dispute with communication service providers. (Please note this is a French-language resource.)



Bien choisir son crédit : un guide pratique [A Practical Guide to Making Smart Credit Choices]

A guide comprised of 12 fact sheets for consumers to learn more about credit, grouped into the following topics: general information, warnings, credit products, and comparison tables. (Please note this is a French-language resource.)



Financial Consumer Protection responses to COVID-19

This policy brief provides recommendations that can assist policy makers in their consideration of appropriate measures to help financial consumers, depending on the contexts and circumstances of individual jurisdictions, during the COVID-19 crisis. These options are consistent with the G20/OECD High Level Principles on Financial Consumer Protection that set out the foundations for a comprehensive financial consumer protection framework.



Roadblock to Recovery: Consumer debt of low- and moderate-income Canadians in the time of COVID-19

Almost half of low-income households and 62 per cent of moderate-income households carry debt, with households on low incomes spending 31 per cent of their income on debt repayments, according to a new report published by national charity, Prosper Canada.

This report analyzes the distribution, amount and composition of non-mortgage debt held by low- and moderate-income Canadian households and explores implications for federal and provincial/territorial policy makers as they develop and implement COVID-19 economic recovery plans and fulfill their respective regulatory roles.



Report on Income and Canadian Financial Consumer Complaints

This report explores the financial services complaint experiences of Canadians at various income levels who used the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI)’s service. The national, not-for-profit organization collected demographic and case data for almost 1,000 closed cases resolved between 2017 to 2019 to create the report. These cases were grouped into three categories:

  • lower-income households (under $60,000);
  • middle-income households ($60,000 to $100,000); and
  • higher-income households (over $100,000).

Key findings include:

  • Lower-income households represent almost 40% of OBSI cases. Lower-income consumers of financial services need and make use of OBSI as an accessible alternative to the legal system.
  • Nearly one-third (30%) of employed complainants live in lower- or middle-income households. Canadians experience economic barriers to accessing legal services regardless of their employment status.
  • Most lower-income complainants are over 60, while most higher-income complainants are under 50. Older Canadians have a particular need for accessible dispute resolution.



Disability Alliance BC

Disability Alliance BC supports people in British Columbia with disabilities through direct services, community partnerships, advocacy, research and publications.

Their website provides information on disability benefits including the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), CPP Disability, Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP) and more.



Questions and answers to legal topics in Ontario

The Community of Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) website contains answers to common questions pertaining to a number of legal topics, including: COVID-19, debt and consumer rights, and employment and work.



Debt settlement and financial recovery companies: too risky an option?

This report presents a study of the debt settlement and financial recovery industry and examines Canadian consumer issues from these services. 

Data is gathered from company websites and contracts as well as customer surveys and questionnaires completed by governmental and non-governmental organizations. A comparative study of legislation applicable to the industry is also conducted.



Identity theft

Identity thieves try to use your personal information to take money from your bank account, shop with your credit card, or even commit crimes in your name. This publication explains how to spot the warning signs of identity theft, how to protect yourself, and what you can do if it happens to you.



Beware of scams related to the coronavirus

Scammers are taking advantage of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to con people into giving up their money. Though the reason behind their fraud is new, their tactics are familiar. It can be even harder to prevent scams right now because people 62 and older aren’t interacting with as many friends, neighbors, and senior service providers due to efforts to slow the spread of disease.

This blog post presents consumer protection toolkit resources produced by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in addition to tips for consumers regarding COVID-19 related scams.



New Risks and Emerging Technologies: 2019 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report

The Better Business Bureau Institute for Marketplace Trust (BBB Institute) is the 501(c)(3) educational foundation of the Better Business Bureau (BBB). BBB Institute works with local BBBs across North America.

This report uses data submitted by consumers to BBB Scam Tracker to shed light on how scams are being perpetrated, who is being targeted, which scams have the greatest impact, and much more. The BBB Risk Index helps consumers better understand which scams pose the highest risk by looking at three factors—exposure, susceptibility, and monetary loss. The 2019 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report is a critical part of BBB’s ongoing work to contribute new, useful data and analysis to further the efforts of all who are engaged in combating marketplace fraud.



COVID-19: Managing financial health in challenging times

This guide from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada shares guidelines and financial tips to help Canadians during COVID-19. The topics include: getting through a financial emergency, where to ask questions or voice concerns, what to do if your branch closes, and more.

State of Fair Banking in Canada

Everyone needs to bank and nearly everyone has a relationship with at least one financial institution. Financial Institutions need relationships with consumers too, in order to thrive as businesses. The role these relationships play in financial decision making for Canadians is an important consideration for anyone seeking to understand the financial health of Canadians and the impact of the banking sector in Canada. This report discusses the findings from a national sample of both banking consumers and lenders who were asked about their perspectives on fairness, access, credibility and transparency.



Video: Debt collection scams

Dealing with debt collection issues can be challenging—especially when you’re not sure if the person you’re being contacted by is a legitimate debt collector or someone trying to scam you. This video from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the United States shares useful tips on spotting debt collection scams and protecting yourself from scammers.



Consumer Perspectives on Fintech

This brief raises consumer perspectives on financial technology (fintech), and offers guidance for fintech developers on how to best serve low- to moderate-income clients.



Protecting vulnerable clients: A practical guide for the financial services industry

Firms and representatives in the financial services industry occasionally encounter situations where a client’s vulnerability causes the client to make decisions that are contrary to his or her financial interests, needs or objectives or that leave him or her exposed to potential financial mistreatment.

Because of the relationships they develop with their clients and the knowledge they acquire about clients’ financial needs or objectives over time, firms and representatives in the financial sector can play a key role in helping people who are in a vulnerable situation protect their financial well-being. They are instrumental in preventing and detecting financial mistreatment among consumers of financial services. Firms and representatives can also help clients experiencing financial mistreatment get the assistance they need.

This guide proposes possible courses of action to protect vulnerable clients. Its purpose is to provide financial sector participants with guidance on the steps they can take to help protect clients’ financial well-being, prevent and detect financial mistreatment, and assist clients who are experiencing this type of mistreatment.



Tout Bien Calcule

Pour souligner leurs 50 ans d’histoire, les Associations de consommateurs du Québec s’unissent pour offrir à la population québécoise un portail qui rassemble toute une gamme d’informations et d’outils développés au fil des années grâce à leur expertise en finances personnelles.

Cette porte d’entrée donne accès à des services spécialisés en finances personnelles offerts par les associations, propose des outils adaptés, et à travers les différentes sections, offre une information claire, objective et critique afin de vous guider vers de meilleurs choix de consommation et une meilleure santé financière.



The Little Black Book of Scams (2nd edition)

Scammers are sneaky and sly. They can target anyone, from youngsters to retirees. They can also target businesses. No one is immune to fraud.
Our group of superheroes has found a way to see through the scams. Their secret is simple: knowledge is power!

Read this booklet to find out how you can also become a fraud-fighting superhero. Share this booklet with family and friends and start powering up!



High-Cost Alternative Financial Services: The Customer Experience

In early 2017 Momentum reached out to over 50 community members and participants to better understand local experiences with high-cost alternative financial services. In addition to connecting with individuals through interviews, Momentum hosted community consultations in partnership with Poverty Talks! and Sunrise Community Link Resource Centre. The following document summarizes what we learned from these conversations and the loan contracts that borrowers shared with us. It also identifies several themes that emerged from these discussions.



Summary Brief: High-Cost Alternative Financial Services

Many Albertans turn to high-cost alternative financial services when they need a short-term fix for a financial issue. Though these services are expensive and unsafe, they are often the only option for low-income individuals, particularly those who struggle to obtain credit at mainstream financial institutions. High-cost alternative financial services contribute to a two-tiered banking system, in which the poor often pay more for inferior services.

Without more stringent regulation, and in the absence of safe and affordable short-term credit options, Albertans living on lower-incomes will continue to experience financial exclusion and take on heavy debt loads – both of which are major contributors to long-term poverty.



High-Cost Alternative Financial Services: Policy Options

Many Canadians turn to high-cost alternative financial services when they need a short-term fix for a budgetary issue. Though these banking and credit alternatives are a convenient choice for individuals in search of fast cash, particularly those who face barriers to obtaining credit at a bank or credit union, access comes at a steep price and with a high degree of risk. On its own, one high-cost loan has the potential to trap a borrower in a cycle of debt, not only amplifying their short-term problem, but also limiting their ability to secure the income and assets needed to thrive in the long term.

The policy recommendations presented in this brief, and summarized in the chart on page two,  are inspired by the regulatory initiatives across the country, and reflect ways in which all three levels of government can contribute to better consumer protection for all Canadians.

 



Group RESP Educational Materials

This document explains the basics of group RESPs, including what they are, what they may cost, what you need to know about your group RESP if you are already enrolled in a plan, and how to figure out your options.

Read more about the research behind these materials here.

 

 

The Regulation of Group Plan RESPs and the Experiences of Low-Income Subscribers

Through the Group RESP Research and Education Project, SEED Winnipeg, Momentum (Calgary), the Legal Help Centre of Winnipeg, and an interdisciplinary research team studied the regulation of group plan RESPs and the experiences of low-income subscribers, and developed public legal education materials to support low-income RESP subscribers in understanding and making informed decisions about their RESP investments. This report presents the research component of this project.

This report shows that group plan RESPs are complex, and while they can be beneficial, participation in a group plan may be detrimental to a subscriber's financial well-being if the plan is not well aligned with the subscriber's needs. Low-income subscribers continue to be significantly represented in RESPs held by group plan promoters.



Debt and High Interest Resource Portal

This is ACORN Canada's debt and high-interest lending resource portal. It contains links and resources on debt, credit, banking, and other topics. 

The Complaints Process for Retail Investments in Canada: A Handbook for Investors

Canadian investors need more and better information to protect themselves  both when they act on their own and when they retain lawyers. This handbook is intended to help Canadian investors better understand the choices they face when making a complaint and the impact of those choices. It can also serve as a guide to assist them when they work with lawyers, particularly those whose law practice does not focus on assisting Canadian investors in obtaining financial compensation.

High cost lending in Canada


This webinar, "High cost lending in Canada: Risks, regulations, and alternatives," is about why high cost lending products are concerning, especially for financially vulnerable Canadians. Speakers discuss what is driving the use of these products, what kind of regulations are involved, and what advocacy and financial product solutions could look like. The speakers are:

  • Jerry Buckland from Canadian Mennonite University
  • Courtney Hare from Momentum.

Read the presentation slides for this webinar.




The Case for Social Investment in Microcredit

Fraud Facts 2017 – Recognize, Reject, Report Fraud

Small-Dollar Credit – Protecting Consumers and Fostering Innovation

Predatory Lending: A Survey of High Interest Alternative Financial Service Users

Payday Loans: Market Trends

Canadian Consumer Finance Association: Filling the Gap – Canada’s Payday Lenders

The Invisible Crime: A Report on Seniors Financial Abuse

Short-Term Gain, Long-Term Pain: Examining the Growing Payday Loan Industry in B.C.

Buying and Maintaining a Home: Planning Your Housing Budget

Renewing and Renegotiating Your Mortgage

Shopping Around for a Mortgage

Buying Your First Home: Three Steps to Successful Mortgage Shopping

How to Make a Complaint

International Review: Mobile Payments and Consumer Protection

Mortgage Prepayment; Know Your Options. Smart mortgage decisions start here

Paying off Your Mortgage Faster

Before You Sign any Contract: 10 Things You Need to Know

Fringe Financial Institutions, The Unbanked, and the Precariously Banked: Survey Results from Prince George, B.C.

Welcome to the financial mainstream? The hazards facing low income people when navigating the financial world

My Turn to Speak: Voices of Microfinance Clients in Benin, Pakistan, Peru and Georgia

Towards a Comprehensive and Inclusive Consumer Protection Framework for Canada. Submission to Finance Canada

Payday Loan Facts and the CFPB’s Impact

Preventing and Intervening in Situations of Financial Abuse. Ontario Edition

Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities

Municipal Financial Empowerment: A Supervitamin for Public Programs. Strategy #4: Targeting Consumer Financial Protection Powers.

Why It’s So Hard to Regulate Payday Lenders

A population-based study of premature mortality in relation to neighbourhood density of alcohol sales and cheque cashing outlets in Toronto, Canada

The Real Cost of Payday Lending

Since the early 1990s payday lending businesses have become increasingly prolific in most parts of Canada, including Calgary. Social agencies and advocates working to reduce poverty view payday lenders and other fringe financial businesses as problematic for those looking to exit the cycle of poverty. Payday lenders charge interest rates that, when annualized, top 400%. The industry justifies this by stating that comparisons to an annual rate are unfair as loans are not meant to or allowed to last longer than two months. However, the fact remains that these businesses charge far more for credit than mainstream financial institutions and are more prevalent in lower income neighbourhoods.



A Woman’s Guide to Money, Relationships, and the Law in Ontario


Many laws affect your financial rights and responsibilities within your relationships. In Ontario most of the laws apply to two-person relationships and some laws apply differently to married couples than to partners who are not married. Either way, these law can affect you financially when you enter a new relationship and when you end one. Even when you are happily entering a new relationship, it is important to plan ahead, to be aware of what you are entitled to if the relationship ends, and to know the laws and how they relate to your situation. This guide outlines the financial rights and responsibilities of people in relationships in Ontario and highlights the differences for married women and women who are in spousal relationships but are not married.


Considering A Payday Loan? 10 Questions To Ask


If you’re short on cash, a payday loan may seem like a quick way to get money, but there is a high cost. Fees on payday loans are generally much higher than those on other forms of credit, and they will take a big bite out of your budget. Make sure you have all the facts about a payday loan by asking the following questions.


Auto Finance: Market Trends

Payday Loans: An Expensive Way to Borrow

2013 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice: Summary Results


The 2013 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (SCPC) is the sixth in a series of annual studies
conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston to gain a comprehensive understanding of the cash and noncash payment behaviour of U.S. consumers. This report summarizes data collected in the 2013 SCPC and contains 57 tables with detailed estimates of the number of consumer payments, rate of adoption, and share of consumers using nine common payment instruments—cash, checks, money orders, traveler’s checks, debit cards, credit cards, prepaid cards, online banking bill payments (OBBP), and bank account number payments (BANP)— plus payments made directly from consumers’ income source. The report also contains estimates of consumer activity related to banking, cash management, and other payment
practices; consumer assessments of payment characteristics; and a rich set of consumer and
household demographic characteristics.


Fair Financing: Expanding Small-Dollar Short-Term Credit for Albertans

CFPB Proposal for Payday and Other Small Loans

How the CFPB is Proposing to Regulate the Small Dollar Lending Industry. Understanding and Supporting the Payday Lending Rules.

Big Data, Big Potential: Harnessing Data Technology for the Underserved Market

Fair Lending Report of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Supplemental findings on payday, payday installment, and vehicle title loans, and deposit advance products

Banking on the Margins: Finding Ways to Build an Enabling Small Dollar Credit Market

Consumer Experiences in Online Payday Loans

Consumer Expenditures in 2013

Choosing Financial Services Where the Options are Limited: A Report on a Survey of Financial Service Choice of Residents in Inner-city Neighbourhoods in Toronto, Vancouver & Winnipeg

Does Community Access to Alternative Financial Services Relate to Individuals’ Use of These Services? Beyond Individual Explanations

Fraud Prevention Kit


This is a presentation from the Bank of Canada on fraud prevention. Students in grades 9 to 12 will learn how to prevent losses due to bank note counterfeiting and identity crime. The kit includes a teacher’s manual, worksheets, Fighting Fraud on the Front Lines DVD, and much more.