New Law Makes Credit Scores Free In Quebec

New Law Makes Credit Scores Free In Quebec

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated June 11, 2021

Your credit score plays a key role in your financial health. If you plan to take out a car loan, apply for a mortgage, or even snag a cell phone plan, you’re going to need a decent credit score to make that happen. 

Considering how important your credit score is, you’ll want to keep tabs on it to ensure it stays within a healthy zone. Otherwise, you could be unpleasantly surprised when you’re denied a financial product because your credit score is a little on the low side. By monitoring your credit score, you’ll be up-to-date on where your score stands so that you can step in and make improvements if or when they are needed. 

Plus, checking your credit report will also give you the chance to make sure all your information is accurate and to see if there are any red flags that may suggest that your identity is at risk. 

You can pull your credit report for free once a year from each of the credit reporting agencies in Canada: Equifax and TransUnion. Otherwise, you can sign up to receive regular updates on your credit score for a fee. For instance, TransUnion Score offers a subscription credit monitoring service for $24.95 per month to receive reports and alerts about your credit health.

But a new law will allow Quebecers to check their credit reports more readily in an effort to ward off fraudulent activity. Let’s take a closer look at this new legislation and how to better arm Quebec residents against harm to their credit health. 

Lookout Is Credit Monitoring A Good Way To Protect Your Identity?

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What Is The New Credit Assessment Agents Act?

On February 1, 2021, the Credit Assessment Agents Act took effect. As a result, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) designated Equifax and TransUnion as credit assessment agents.

The Act gives consumers new rights when it comes to credit reports so they are in a better position to protect themselves against fraud and identity theft

Who Are The Autorité Des Marchés Financiers (AMF)?

The role of the AMF is to oversee and regulate the activities of credit agents and help consumers and businesses when dealing with them as required. The AMF works alongside the Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec, an agency that is responsible for making sure that the privacy of personal information of Quebecers is upheld. 

Check out more ways to get your credit score for free in Canada.

What Does The New Credit Assessment Agents Act Mean For Quebec Consumers?

The new changes means Equifax and TransUnion must now allow Quebecers to pull their credit reports and check their credit scores online for free. 

Equifax has taken things a bit further and allows all Canadians to check their credit information online at no charge. But with TransUnion, this complimentary service is currently only available to Quebec residents. 

The Act will give consumers and businesses the ability to:

  • Get a hold of their credit rating
  • Have a security alert placed on their credit reports to help avoid identity theft.
  • Add an explanatory statement to indicate their disagreement with what their credit reports contain .
  • Add a security freeze, a feature that will be added at some point in the future.

How To Get Your Credit Score For Free

You can access your credit report for free online through Equifax or TransUnion. In order to access this report, you will be required to provide certain pieces of personal information, such as your name, address, social insurance number (SIN), and date of birth. 

From there, you’ll create an account and verify your identity before you’re given access to your credit file.  

Free Credit Report FAQs

Will accessing my credit score affect my credit?

No. While your credit score may be temporarily affected when a lender or creditor pulls your credit report, your score will not be impacted when you access your own credit file. 

Why does my Equifax credit score differ from my TransUnion credit score?

Equifax and Transunion both base their credit scores on the same factors, but their credit scoring models are not exactly the same, which means your credit score may differ slightly between both agencies. Furthermore, not all lenders and creditors report to both credit agencies. As such, one credit bureau may have different information about you compared to the other. 

What is a consumer disclosure?

A consumer disclosure is an account of all the information contained within your credit report and is what lenders see when they pull your report. All Canadians have the right to get a copy of their consumer disclosure as mandated by the consumer reporting legislation.

Do lenders see the same report as me? 

Lenders and creditors will receive a business version of your credit report, so the information may be slightly different. 

Final Thoughts

Your credit score is a critical component of your overall financial health, so it makes sense that you’d want to know what it is at any given time. Luckily, you’re allowed to pull your credit report once a year for free, and with the new Credit Assessment Agents Act that recently took effect, Quebecers can access their credit reports and see their credit scores online for free. 

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Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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