Many Canadians may want to know their credit scores in order to see how it will affect their ability to access future credit products.
A credit score is a 3-digit number between 300 – 900 that lenders, creditors, landlords, and even employers use to determine your riskiness and likelihood to pay bills or debt.
Knowing your credit scores and how you compare to other Canadians may help motivate you to improve your credit.
How Are Canadian Credit Scores Calculated?
While we don’t know the exact formula for how each of the two Canadian credit bureaus calculates your credit scores, there are 5 common factors used in most credit scoring models:
- History Of Payments – Do you make all your credit and loan payments on time all the time? On average, your payment history accounts for 35% of your credit scores.
- Debt-To-Credit Ratio – The amount of revolving credit you used versus how much you have, is another common factor that is taken into consideration. Most lenders like to see a ratio of 30% or below.
- Credit History -While the weight of each category can vary based on the credit model being used, credit history typically accounts for around 15% of your credit scores. The longer you’ve had your accounts open, the more positively it may affect your credit.
- New inquiries – Every time a potential lender or creditor pulls your credit, your credit scores may drop a few points. Too many pulls within a short period of time can have a more severe impact.
- Public Records – If you have any bankruptcies, liens, debts in collections or other derogatory remarks, it can also impact your credit score calculations.
Canadian Credit Score Ranges
In Canada, credit scores range from 300 to 900. The closer your credit scores are to 900, the less risky you’ll seem as a borrower. This can open financial doors and give you access to affordable credit products and loans in the future when you need them. Depending on where you fall between this range, your credit can vary between poor, fair, good, very good and excellent.
- Excellent (Scores 760+)
- Very Good (Scores 759 – 725)
- Good (Scores 724 – 660)
- Fair (Scored 659 – 560)
- Poor (Scores 559 – 300)
It’s important to keep in mind that while healthy credit scores are important, it’s never a good idea to become obsessed with having a perfect 800 to 900 credit score. Especially considering that you have multiple credit scores in Canada which are impacted by the credit scoring model used to calculate your score but also the information in your credit report.
Not all lenders and creditors report your credit information to both credit bureaus. Some only report to one, while others report to none. The discrepancies in your credit reports can also impact your credit score calculations.
The Average Canadian Credit Scores
According to TransUnion (one of the two main credit reporting bureaus in Canada), the average Canadian credit score is around 650. Based on the credit score ranges we discussed above, most Canadians have fair credit, though some lenders may consider 650 as good.
Does Age Matter?
According to Equifax, Canada’s second credit reporting bureau, the highest percentage of Canadian citizens with a credit score of 750 and higher are in the 65 and older age group. On the other hand, the highest percentage of Canadians with a score of 520 and under are in the 25 and younger age group.
Generally speaking, mature consumers are more likely to have higher scores, simply because they have had more time to build their credit. But, it’s important to keep in mind that this is not always the case, just because you’re under 25 doesn’t mean you’ll automatically have bad credit.
There are a couple of reasons why this is often the case:
- Credit health takes time to develop. As mentioned your credit age generally accounts for 15% of your credit scores. As such, a 65-year-old will have decades over a 25-year-old to build that category.
- Good financial habits take time to develop. Generally speaking, young adults are more likely to make irresponsible financial decisions that will negatively affect their credit scores.
As you can see, good credit is all about time. So, don’t beat yourself up if you’re currently struggling to improve or build your credit scores, give it time and it will happen.
What About The Average Credit Score By Province?
Since the health of your credit can be tied to the overall health of your finances, it makes sense that there is at the very least a small correlation between the province you live in and your credit score. Certain provinces or territories offer Canadians more financial opportunities or more financial hurdles, all of which can have an effect on your credit score. Some of these opportunities or hurdles could be:
- Job opportunities
- Cost of living
- Cost of housing
Based on a study by Borrowell (Average Credit Score By Canadian City), below is a list of the cities in Canada with the highest credit scores.
|Ontario||Markham – 720|
Toronto – 696
Mississauga – 695
Ottawa – 688
Kitchener – 679
Brampton – 675
Hamilton – 660
|British Columbia||Vancouver – 705|
Victoria – 694
Surrey – 675
|Quebec||Montreal – 687|
Quebec City – 683
Laval – 679
Gatineau – 663
|Alberta||Calgary – 667|
Edmonton – 649
|Nova Scotia||Halifax – 664|
|Manitoba||Winnipeg – 661|
|Saskatchewan||Regina – 659|
Saskatoon – 656
|New Brunswick||Fredericton – 658|
Moncton – 640
Of the cities mentioned, Moncton, NB had the lowest credit score of 640, while Markham and Vancouver had the highest credit scores (720 and 705 respectively). Of the 22 cities listed, 17 of the 22 cities mentioned had a “good” credit score rating, while the other 5 cities fell within the “fair” credit score range.
Debt Levels Could Also Affect Credit Scores
Debt is one of the five factors that is taken into consideration when a credit score is calculated. Therefore, it makes sense that the average debt level of the citizens of each province could also affect the average credit score by province.
According to reports by Equifax from 2019 and 2021, here is the average individual consumer debt load (non-mortgage) Canadians have by province:
|Province||Average Individual Consumer Debt(non-mortgage) 2021||Average Individual Consumer Debt(non-mortgage) 2019|
|Prince Edward Island||$21,963||$23,043|
Do You Know What Your Credit Scores Are?
According to Equifax, in 2021, 78% of Canadians checked their credit scores at least once a year, which is a stark contrast from five years ago where 67% of Canadians said they rarely or have never checked it. All Canadians should check their credit (scores and reports) at least once a year, not only just to know what their credit is but to make sure that they have not been the victim of identity theft.
|Cost||Credit Score||Credit Report|
When it comes to checking your credit with one of the above third-party providers or directly from a credit bureau, you’re only getting one of your credit scores. In general, you’ll have more than one credit score because there are many different credit scoring models. If you check your credit with Mogo and then with Equifax, for example, both of those scores will likely be different.
Your Scores, Your Responsibility
The great news is, while all the stuff we discussed above does influence your credit scores when it’s all said and done, they’re your credit scores and you have the power to make them what you want them to be. You can develop great financial habits, pay down debt, and work toward the financial future you’ve always wanted, regardless of where you live.