Why is it so important to protect your credit report? Well, your credit report is vulnerable to mistakes but also to fraud. The worst part of it is that you only find about the problem when you apply for a credit product like a personal loan, mortgage, and even a rental application for an apartment.
A significant sign of a problem on your credit report is a rejected loan application.
When it comes to accessing different financial credit products, your credit scores will generally play a pretty big role in your ability to get approved. Credit scores and credit reports are not the same thing.
Credit scores are calculated based on the information in your credit report, so it’s important to check your credit report and ensure that all the information is correct and isn’t negatively affecting your credit score.
What Is A Credit Report?
A credit report is a detailed record of someone’s credit history and is prepared by a credit bureau. In Canada, one of two major credit bureaus (aka credit-reporting agencies) maintains your credit report. It could either be Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada.
You will officially have a credit report once you apply for credit or borrow money for the first time. Your credit report includes pertinent financial information such as:
- Personal information (name, address etc.)
- Employment history (current and previous employers)
- Credit history summary (the number of accounts you hold, payment history etc.)
- Detailed information about each of your accounts
- Public records (bankruptcies, liens, judgements, etc)
- Credit inquires including hard checks and soft checks
How To Get Your Credit Report In Canada?
As mentioned, TransUnion and Equifax are the two credit bureaus in Canada that create your credit reports. It’s important to note that the credit report created by both credit bureaus can vary as not all lenders and creditors report to both credit bureaus. As such, the information you find in your TransUnion credit report can be different than the information in your Equifax report.
How To Get Your Credit Report From Equifax?
In Canada, you can get your credit report for free online or by mail. If you want a free copy, you get it from Equifax or TransUnion. If you want to read it to check for mistakes, you can also get it from Compare Hub. At the same time, you can check your credit score for free.
To get your credit report online, you simply need to create an account online at Equifax or Compare Hub. On the other hand, you can get your credit report by mail by filling out this “Consumer Request for Free Credit Report” form and mailing it to the Equifax National Consumer Relations Office.
How To Get Your Credit Report From TransUnion?
With TransUnion, you get your credit report online by subscribing to their credit monitoring service for a fee.
If you want to get your credit report for free, you can request a copy of your Consumer Disclosure, which is a document that compiles all your credit report information according to the consumer reporting legislation. You can access your Consumer Disclosure online once a month by creating an account online.
You can also request a copy by visiting a TransUnion office in person or by filling out this “Consumer Request” form and mailing it out to the TransUnion Consumer Relations Department.
How To Correct An Error On Your Credit Report?
On occasion your credit bureau may make a mistake on your credit report, if this happens it is extremely important that you get it corrected as soon as possible. Errors can often negatively affect your credit history and prevent you from being able to get approved for different credit products.
Here are 5 things you should consider when you want a correction done on your report.
- Gather evidence. If you claim to have an error in your report you must gather the appropriate evidence that proves it.
- Contact the credit agency. You’ll need to file a dispute with your credit agency’s website. The agency will verify this information with the lender who provided that information. If the lender confirms that they made a mistake, the agency will correct the information otherwise nothing will change.
- Contact lender. Instead of having the agency get in touch with the lender, you could do it yourself in order to hasten the process. If your lender realizes they were the ones that made the mistake they will contact your credit bureau to correct the error on your report.
- Consumer statement. Still not satisfied? You can ask the credit agency to give you a consumer statement, which is free. You will be given 100 words to give details about the item you wish to be removed or corrected.
How To Avoid Identity Theft?
The best way to protect yourself from identity theft is to always be aware of what is happening with your accounts by checking your credit report. Again, it doesn’t have to cost you anything to check the report.
Double-check to make sure that no one has opened new credit accounts under your name without your permission. A credit account is a debt, whether it is revolving debt like a credit card or a secured debt like a mortgage. If it is under your name you are responsible for it.
Keep an eye out for suspicious transactions and follow up with your bank, lender or credit card company should you have any concerns or questions.
How To Deal With Identity Fraud?
If you are currently dealing with identity fraud and have no idea what to do or where to start you need to follow these steps in order to start dealing with the situation right away.
- Note the date you realized you had been a victim of fraud and what action you took
- Report the case to the police
- Get in touch with the lenders and other institutions where your accounts were fraudulently affected.
- Contact the credit agencies and ask for a fraud alert for your accounts.
- Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Unfortunately, once you’ve become the victim of fraud the process to sort everything out is often long and difficult. This is why it is so important that you get in contact with the right people and start dealing with the issues right away.
Credit Report FAQs
Can you get a credit freeze in Canada?
What is a credit fraud alert?
What are some common errors on a credit report?
Protecting Your Credit Report Is Important And Requires Your Attention
Prevention is the best way to deal with fraud and protect your credit report. By including the maintenance of your credit accounts into your daily routine, you’ll always know what’s going on and can take action right away should you come across anything suspicious.