Are your COVID-19 government benefits coming to end? We have the information you need to prepare.
If you’re an adult in Canada and are looking to purchase a home or a car or need to take out a personal loan, having the most information possible about your credit history is important. Your credit past will determine your credit future. Even if you’re not planning on making any important investments or purchases, checking your credit report at least once a year will help eliminate any potential issues in the future and even prevent potential identity fraud. Obtaining your credit report and score may seem like a difficult task, especially if you don’t want to pay; this is why we’ve gathered all the information you need to know about getting your credit report in Canada and how to do it for free.
What Is a Credit Report?
Your credit report contains all of your personal financial information, the good and the bad. It includes all your credit accounts and credit cards and what the limits are for every single one of them. All the loans you currently have and had with in the past 6 years including whether you paid on time. As well as the creditors or lenders who have accessed your report.
All credit card companies, lenders, phone service providers, and landlords can and will request a copy of your credit report. They do this to make sure that you are responsible with your finances, can be trusted with more credit, and will make your payments on time. Don’t forget that all your credit information whether it’s good or bad will stay on your report for at least 6 years.
Each of your credit accounts is rated in two ways, with a number and with a letter. The letter is simply descriptive, “R” for a revolving account (credit cards) and “I” for an installment account (a car loan). The number represents whether the account is in good standing or not. The scale for the number ranking is 0 to 9, 0 being an account that is too new to rate and 9 being bad debt.
What Is a Credit Score?
While credit reports and credit scores are often used interchangeably they are in fact two different things. A credit score is not included in a regular credit report, therefore when you obtain your personal credit report it will not include your credit score.
A credit score is a three-digit number that represents all the information included in your credit report. Lender and creditors use this number to make decisions about your financial stability. Of course, the exact formula that credit bureaus use to calculate your credit score is a secret, so we don’t know all of the factors that affect a credit score. But there are five major factors that the credit bureaus do take into consideration when calculating your credit score, they are:
- History of Payments (35%) – Do you make all your loan, credit card, and utility payments on time?
- Debt/ Credit Utilization (30%) – How much debt do you currently have and how much of your available credit card limit do you use up each month?
- Credit Length (15%) – How long have you been a responsible credit user?
- New Inquiries (10%) – How often do you apply for new credit products and therefore allow providers to perform hard inquiries of your credit report.
- Diversity (10%) – Do you have more than one type of credit account?
Your credit score is represented by a number anywhere from 300 to 900 and the higher the number the better your credit score is. The credit bureaus explain that people with credit scores that are below 650 will have trouble obtaining new credit and most lenders want to see a score of at least 680.
How to Get Your Credit Report From The Two Credit Bureaus
It is possible to apply for your credit report for free from both TransUnion and Equifax, Canada’s two major credit bureaus. Your free credit report in Canada will not include your credit score, if you want your credit score you’ll have to pay around $10. Unfortunately, the credit bureaus do not make it easy for you to find the right phone numbers and forms so we’ve included all the information you need to make it as simple as possible. Here are the two ways you can get your free credit report:
- Equifax number is 1-800-465-7166
- TransUnion number is 1-800-663-9980 or 1-877-713-3393 for those living in Quebec
If you decide to call one of the credit bureaus to get your credit score you’ll need to have your social insurance number and credit card with you. The system should be automated and will explain all the steps you need to take. At one point the system will try to get you to pay for your credit score, if you don’t want to pay for it then simply choose no. It should take no longer than a week to arrive at your home.
These are the forms you will need to print out, fill out and mail in. You will also need to photocopy the front and back of two pieces of acceptable identification. Then all you have to do is mail in the form and the photocopy of your identification. The address is on the form you have to fill out.
Once you’ve received your free credit report in the mail you should make sure that there are no errors in your report. Make sure that all the accounts listed are ones that you know of, if there is any false information it could be negatively affecting your credit score which in return could be preventing you from getting a loan you need. If there is any incorrect information you’ll need to contact the credit bureau as soon as possible and fix the issue.
How To Get Your Credit Score For Free In Canada
The most common way to get your credit report and score has always been directly from Equifax and TransUnion. But, that is no longer the case. In the past several years a variety of third-party companies have changed the way Canadian consumers interact with their credit history, report, and score. These companies partner with Equifax and TransUnion to provide their clients with access to either their credit score or both their credit score and report for free.
Checking your credit on a regular basis should be a financial goal for all consumers, and the following companies have made significantly easier with their online platforms. Check out our top four choices for accessing your credit score for free in Canada.
Free Credit Score Providers
|Cost||Credit Score||Credit Alerts||Link|
(with credit monitoring)
*conditions may apply
Mogo, a financial technology company, offers its clients a wide variety of technology-based financial products. This includes personal loans, prepaid credit cards, mortgages, cryptocurrency trading, etc. When you create an account with Mogo you’ll gain access to several credit management tools, including your credit score from Equifax and credit monitoring to help to track the health of your credit as well as monitor for fraud.Learn More
Borrowell is a financial services company that offers personal loans, credit cards, mortgages, credit building services, insurance, etc. to its over one million users. Borrowell offers its clients a wide variety of services and products to help them better manage their credit and achieve their financial goals. Several years ago, Borrowell partnered with Equifax. Borrowell now offers its users not only their credit score for free but also access to their credit report and advice from their AI-powered credit coach, Molly.Learn More
With Credit Karma, you’ll have access to both your credit report and score for free. One of the most interesting features that Credit Karma offers is the ability to check your credit score from both Equifax and TransUnion. Keep in mind that you will only be able to check your credit report TransUnion credit report, not both credit bureaus. Credit Karma also offers tools to help manage your credit and a credit score simulation tool so you can see how specific actions will affect your score.
Our final option is an honourable mention, as it is not a free service. But for those consumers who are serious about improving their credit score, the variety of tools and services that Credit Verify offers makes their monthly fee well worth it.
Credit Verify has partnered with TransUnion to provide Canadians with access to both their credit report and score. When you choose Credit Verify, you will also have access to their credit monitoring service. This extra service helps protect you from credit and identity fraud. In addition, users will also be able to access the Credit Verify score simulator tool. This tool provides insight into how certain credit actions (taking out a loan for example) will affect your credit score. Users are required to create an account through the Credit Verify site and pay a monthly fee of $19.95. But, you can test out their services for seven days for a fee of $1.Learn More
Rating of 5/5 based on 5 votes.
Largest Lender Network In Canada
Save time and money with Loans Canada. Research and compare lenders before you apply. Share your experiences with Canada's top lenders.
goPeer — Helping Consumers Achieve Financial Freedom by Connecting Canadians Looking For Financing With Canadians Looking to Invest
goPeer is Canada's first consumer peer to peer lending platform and connects creditworthy Canadians looking for a loan with everyday Canadians looking...