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In Canada, there are two credit reporting bureaus, which means you probably have more than one credit score.

Don’t worry if they have different numbers. Some lenders and creditors report to only one bureau, while others report to both.

What Is A Credit Report?

A credit report is a summary of your credit history. Credit bureaus compile your credit reports based on the information reported to them from your lenders and creditors. Then potential lenders, creditors, landlords, and insurance companies use your credit reports as part of their approval process. 

While your credit reports do represent a good portion of your credit history, the information is not saved for the total duration of your credit using life. Your credit information will no longer appear on your credit reports after a certain period of time (this depends on the type of information).

But how long does this credit information stay on your credit report? 

What Type Of Credit Information Shows Up On A Credit Report?

Your credit report contains all important information, the good and the bad, regarding your credit accounts. A credit account or tradeline is a general term used to describe credit cards, lines of credit and loans. If you have one or all of these credit products, they will appear on your credit report. In fact, your credit report can be broken down into four sections: 

Identifying Information 

This section of your credit report will include information regarding your personal details like your name, address, date of birth, phone number, and Social Insurance Number (SIN). It may also include your employment history. This information is used for verification purposes only and will not affect your credit. 

Credit History 

As mentioned above, your credit accounts or tradelines will be recorded here. It will include details such as the account type, when you opened your account, the loan amount or credit limit, the balances on your account, and your account payment history

Inquiries

This section of your credit report will include a list of people or companies that have pulled your credit report. You’ll find both hard and soft inquiries listed here, but only you will be able to see the soft inquiries.

Public Records

This section includes items that are a matter of public record. It typically includes bankruptcy, consumer proposals, legal judgments, liens and accounts in collections. 

Is The Information Reported To The Credit Bureaus The Same? 

Most lenders and creditors report directly to both the credit reporting bureaus in Canada; TransUnion, and Equifax. However, some lenders and creditors report to only one of the credit bureaus, while others report to none. As such, the information in your credit reports from Transunion and Equifax can vary. This, in turn, can affect the calculation of your credit scores, which is one of the reasons you have multiple credit scores in Canada. 

How Long Do Paid Off Credit Accounts In Good Standing Stay On My Report?

A credit account that was paid off on time and is in good standing will usually remain on your credit reports for as long as the account is open and being used. Often, consumers mistakenly believe that old credit accounts are bad information and do not want them on their reports. But, actually, this is the exact type of information that you want to appear on your credit reports. Old accounts, which were paid off on time, show potential future lenders that you can responsibly handle credit. A long and positive credit history is created by using credit, taking on loans, and making payments. 

How Long Do Delinquent Credit Accounts Stay On My Report?

When it comes to delinquent credit accounts or other negative credit information, it’s best for your overall credit health if that information is removed from your credit report as soon as possible. It’s this type of information that can lower your credit scores and hinder your ability to get approved for the credit and loan products you need.

Unfortunately, negative credit information does stay on your credit report as it’s used by creditors and lenders to assess your risk level. The good news is that negative credit information doesn’t stay on your credit report for as long as positive credit information.

Equifax vs. TransUnion: How Long Do Delinquent Credit Accounts Stay On My Report

There are so many different types of negative credit information that can appear on your credit report, and depending on which credit bureau it’s been reported to, the amount of time it may stay on your credit report can vary. Here is a detailed list of how long each will stay on your report with each credit bureau. 

TermDefinition EquifaxTransUnion
Late PaymentsEquifax removes late payments 6 years after the lender reports it.

TransUnion removes late payments 6 years after the first delinquency.
66
Closed chequing or savings accounts due to fraudWhen your chequing or savings account is closed due to fraud. 66
InquiresWhen a company or person does a credit check on you, they do so by requesting your credit report from one of the two credit bureaus. The act of accessing your credit report is called an inquiry. 6
Accounts in CollectionIf you continue to default on your payments you will be considered a serious delinquent. When that happens, companies will sell your account to a collection agency, which is a more intensive method of debt recovery. 66
LiensLien is a term used to define an asset that is used as security for a loan. In the event the borrower cannot repay his debt, the lender has the right to seize the asset the repay the debt.

Note: at TransUnion lien information will stay on your report for 5 years.
6
(10 in PEI)
5
BankruptcyBankruptcy is a legal procedure in Canada that is filed by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. It allows you to absolve most of your debt, however, you may lose possession of your assets.

Note: TransUnion keeps bankruptcy information for 7 years in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and P.E.I.
66-10 
Multiple bankruptciesIf you file for more than one bankruptcy. 1414
Consumer proposalA consumer proposal is a legal proceeding in Canada that is administered by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. It allows you to settle your debts by paying off a portion of your debt over a period of 5 years.

Note: Equifax will remove the remark 3 years after you pay all debts in the consumer proposal. TransUnion will remove it 3 years after you pay your debts or 6 years after you signed the proposal, whichever is sooner.
33 or 6
Remarks Any notes written regarding your account such as “settled” or “account closed due to inactivity” is considered a remark.66
Legal judgmentsJudgements are debts you owe through lawsuits.

Note: TransUnion keeps legal judgment information for 7 years in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador and 10 years in P.E.I.
66-10
Orderly Payment of Debts (OPD)OPD is a government program in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia that allows people to repay their debts at a fixed rate of 5% over a period of up to 5 years.

Note: TransUnion does not report the OPD itself but keeps each of the accounts associated with the OPD on record for 2 years following the date paid, or if sooner, 6 years from when the account first became delinquent.
32-6
Debt management program (DMP)A DMP is a debt relief program that consolidates all of your unsecured debt in one affordable payment. Both Equifax and Transunion will remove the DMP 2 years after debts are paid.

Note: At Equifax, if a debt is not repaid, the DMP remains on the credit report for 6 years following the date filed.

Note: TransUnion will keep the DMP on record for 2 years following the date paid, or if sooner, 6 years from when the account first became delinquent.
22

What If I Don’t Recognize An Account On My Report?

If your credit reports contain incorrect information there are typically two causes, either the information was reported incorrectly or the discrepancies are due to identity theft. If you notice a mistake or discrepancy, please contact Equifax or TransUnion to resolve the problem. Keep in mind that both bureaus have their own protocol for dealing with incorrect information and you may need to provide specific documentation as proof. 

Problems like these are an important reminder of why you should check your credit report at least once a year. 

Credit Report FAQs

What information is not included in your credit reports? 

Your credit reports will not include information about your bank accounts, purchases made with cash, debit card or cheque, your income, or information about any businesses you own unless you borrowed money for business and are personally responsible for it. Furthermore, your credit reports will not include personal information like your ethnicity, political affiliation, criminal record, or medical history. 

How often is my credit report updated?

Lenders and creditors report to either one of both credit bureaus at different times throughout the month, which means your credit reports are updated at different times throughout the. This is why you likely have two different credit reports. 

How many times should I check my credit report? 

It is recommended that you check your credit report at least once every year to ensure that the information recorded is accurate and that there are no signs of identity theft. You should also check your credit report and scores before you apply for a loan or any credit product. This will allow you to get a better understanding of your creditworthiness and ability to get a loan.

Can I add a note to my credit report to explain any negative remarks? 

Yes, you can add a note to your credit report to explain certain negative remarks. This will generally be visible to credit or lenders pulling your credit for 6 years, after which it’ll be removed.

Bottom Line

Keep in mind that the two credit reporting bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion, keep credit information for different amounts of time. Furthermore, some creditors report to only one bureau, therefore some information may not appear on your credit report if you only request a copy from one of the two bureaus.

Caitlin Wood, BA avatar on Loans Canada
Caitlin Wood, BA

Caitlin Wood is the Editor-in-Chief at Loans Canada and specializes in personal finance. She is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. Caitlin has covered various subjects such as debt, credit, and loans. Her work has been published on Zoocasa, GoDaddy, and deBanked. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security.

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