How to check your credit score

If you have ever borrowed money to buy a car, applied for a credit card, a mortgage or any other kind of loan then you have a credit score. Your credit score will help you qualify for loans in the future. However, did you know that most Canadians do not know what their credit scores are and do not know what’s on their credit files?

It’s important to know what your credit score is. It can help protect you from identity theft and it will give you clear incentives to improve your rating if it’s low.

What a credit report consists of

A credit report contains information about every loan you’ve taken out in the previous 6 years as well as your repayment performance and other factors. A credit report can answer the following questions:

– Do you make your payments on time?

– How much debt do you have?

– What’s your credit limit on each account?

– How large are your loans?

– Who has accessed your file?

How can I get my credit report?

In Canada you can get a free credit report by mail. The 2 main credit bureaus are Equifax and TransUnion and you can pull your credit report by contacting either company.

You can also get instant access to you report online by visiting either company’s website. Usually the cost is under $30.

What can I do if there’s an error in my report?

Mistakes do happen and considering the millions of people that have credit scores it is expected. However If there’s an error in your credit report you may be a victim of identity theft and should notify the credit bureau you pulled your report from immediately.

Should I subscribe to credit monitoring services?

These services typically include email notifications when there’s a change to your report, at a price. If you feel that you are susceptibel to identity theft then the expense might be worth it. Otherwise knowing that you can get a credit report for free by mail should be enough for you.