CHECKING YOUR CREDIT REPORT AND CREDIT SCORE
How can you check your credit report score?
You should request a copy of your credit report yearly, from both bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax. You should verify your personal information is correct, and ensure you haven’t been a victim of identity fraud.
The easiest and safest ways to order your credit report is by mail or Internet.
If you make your request in writing and send it by mail, the credit bureaus will provide you with a free copy of your report. In your request include a copy of two pieces of I.D.
You can order your report online through the credit bureaus websites, but a fee will be charged.
The only way to obtain your credit score is online, through the credit bureaus websites.
National Consumer Relations
P.O. Box 190, Station Jean-Talon,
Montreal, Quebec H1S 2Z2
All provinces except Quebec:
Consumer Relations Centre
P.O. Box 338, LCD 1
Hamilton, ON L8L 7W2
UNDERSTANDING YOUR CREDIT REPORT
What is your credit report?
Credit histories are recorded in files maintained by at least one of Canada’s two major credit-reporting agencies: Equifax and TransUnion.
Who can see your credit report?
You can request a copy of your personal credit report anytime. No one can have access to your credit report, unless you’ve given consent.
Usually, when you sign documents such as a loan or credit card application, you are allowing the organization that is giving you credit to check your credit history. Credit bureaus will only give out your information from your report when they have your permission.
What type of information does your credit report contain?
Your credit report contains information about your past and present personal and financial situation.
Personal Information: Information such as your name, current and previous address(es), social insurance number, date of birth, and your current and previous employer(s).
Credit Information: Information related to any credit you may already have, such as a credit or retail card, a line of credit, a loan or a mortgage.
Banking Information: Information about the accounts you have, including and NSF (non-sufficient funds) or ‘bad’ cheques.
Public Records: Information on the public records such as bankruptcy or a credit-related court judgment against you in a lawsuit. Secured loans, which are backed by an asset (property for example), may also appear in your credit report.
Collection Information: This shows whether you ever had a debt that you could not pay, which was referred to a collection agency for payment.
Consumer Statement: This is any statement you may have made to explain a particular situation, such as a dispute with a financial institution or a fraud warning.
Credit Report Inquires: This is a list of all the people who have inquired about your credit: yourself, a lender, or any other authorized organization.
*Source Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
UNDERSTANDING YOUR CREDIT SCORE
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a judgment about your financial health, at a specific point in time. It indicates the risk you represent.
Credit scores are worked out in many different ways. The credit bureaus use a scale from 300 to 900. High scores on this scale are good. The higher your score, the lower the risk for the lender.
What factors influence your credit score?
Credit bureaus and lenders use a mathematical formula to figure out your credit score. This formula takes into account various factors described in your credit report, such as:
- Your payment history (Do you carry over a balance on your credit card from month to month? Have you ever missed a payment on any of your debts?);
- Any collection or bankruptcy recorded against you (Has collection agency had to collect an unpaid bill from you? Have you ever been bankrupt?);
- Your outstanding debts (What is the limit on your credit card? Is your spending close to you r credit limit?);
- Your account history (How long have you had credit?);
- The number or recent inquiries made about your credit report (How many times has someone asked about your credit report?); and
- The type of credit you are using (Do you only have credit cards, or do you have a mix of credit cards and loans?).
How long do these factors affect your credit score?
Information that affects your score will be removed from your credit report after some time. The length of time depends on:
- The province or territory you reside in.
- The type of information.
*Source Financial Consumer Agency of Canada