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Credit scores play a key role in your ability to access a variety of financial products and programs, including personal loans, mortgages, and credit cards. But, it can also affect your ability to get certain types of jobs, secure a rental unit, and even get a cell phone contract. 

That’s why it’s important to check your credit scores, which you can check by requesting a copy of your credit report and score from one of the two credit bureaus in Canada: TransUnion, or Equifax. 

With TransUnion you can access your credit report in a few different ways, all of which require you to provide certain pieces of information to verify your identity. The information provided will help ensure that no one else is trying to unlawfully access your information and potentially steal your identity. 

But what if TransUnion cannot verify your identity when you request your credit report? Why would this happen? Let’s take a look at what’s required to obtain your credit report and potential reasons why TransUnion may be unable to verify your identity.

Where Can You Get Your Credit Report?

You can obtain a copy of your credit report from the credit bureaus in Canada or from third-party providers. 

  • Credit Bureaus  – A copy of your credit report can be ordered from Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada by mail, fax, telephone, or online. 
  • Third-Party Providers – Some companies are available that provide credit scores for free, while others may require a sign-up process for a paid service for you to see your credit score. These companies include Credit Karma, Borrowell, and Credit Verify, to name a few. 

How Do You Get Your Credit Report With TransUnion? 

To get your credit report through TransUnion, follow these steps:

1. Provide Your Personal Information

You’ll need to fill out your personal profile and provide details such as your name, address, phone number, email address, and date of birth. You also have the option to provide your Social Insurance Number (SIN)

2. Create an account

Once you’ve filled out all your personal information, you’ll be asked to create an account with a username and password. 

3. Verify Your identity

You’ll be required to verify your identity to prevent anyone else from impersonating you and attempting to access your information. You may be asked for more information, including your SIN, driver’s license number, or bank account information. You’ll also be sent an email to verify your identity and complete your enrollment.

Once you’ve completed the process, your account will be created and you’ll be able to log in and access your account. 

What Happens If TransUnion Is Unable To Verify Your Identity?

There are a handful of reasons why TransUnion may not have been able to verify your identity:

You May Have Answered An Identity Confirmation Question Incorrectly

TransUnion will block users that do not answer the identity authentication questions correctly for security purposes. That way, anyone who has nefarious intentions will be prevented from repeatedly returning until they can guess the right answers. 

The Lender Name May Be Different From The One You Know

You may be asked about a mortgage you don’t have or a loan from a lender that you don’t recognize. These questions are asked so that the likelihood of an unauthorized user guessing the answers is significantly reduced for your own security. These questions might not be taken from your TransUnion credit report. When a question like this is asked, the authentication application is looking for an answer of “None of the above.”

You’re Not The Primary Owner

Perhaps you’re only a co-signer on an account or own the account jointly with someone else. If you don’t make payments on the account, you may not be familiar with it and may not have the information available to answer questions about the account correctly. 

Your Information Is Tied With Another Person

It’s possible that your credit information may be linked with the information of someone else whose identification information is similar to yours. This is more likely to happen between family members who share the same name and address, but it may also happen with two unrelated individuals who have very similar names and Social Insurance Numbers.

You Made A Mistake On Your Profile

Failure to fill out your profile accurately will likely result in TransUnion being unable to verify your identity. For instance, you might make a mistake filling out your name, address, or birth date. 

You Placed A Credit Alert

A third-party provider may not be able to verify your identity if you placed an alert on your TransUnion account. This will prevent the credit bureau from verifying your identity. 

You Have A Thin Credit Profile

If you only have a few short months’ worth of credit information, this might not be enough for the credit bureau to accurately identify you.

What Should I Do If Transunion Is Unable To Verify My Identity?

If TransUnion is unable to verify your identity, a security block will be applied for 7 days, though this only applies to online delivery of your credit report. Once the 7 days pass, you’ll be able to order your credit report online again. If you so choose, you can always request a paper copy of your credit report through mail, telephone, or online.

If you decide to order your credit report by mail, you’ll need to supply the following information: 

  • Full name
  • Current and previous addresses in the past two years
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Current employer
  • Signature

Credit Report FAQs

Will my credit scores be affected if I check my credit report? 

No, checking your own credit score or ordering a copy of your credit report will not impact your scores. In fact, checking up on your score on a regular basis is a good idea to make sure all your information is accurate and your identity is protected. That said, “hard inquiries” — which occur when a creditor or lender looks into your credit score after you’ve applied for a loan — may affect credit scores.

Can I get my credit report for free? 

Yes, you can access your credit report for free from Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada. With Equifax, Canadians can check both their credit report and Equifax score for free online or by paper. Similarly, TransUnion offers a version of your credit report called the Consumer Disclosure for free online. However, if you want access to your credit scores, you’ll have to pay a fee, except for Quebec due to a recently passed law. 

How often should I check my credit report?

You should check your credit report once a year, as well as before applying for a loan, credit account, rental apartment, or a job that requires a credit check

Final Thoughts

Getting a hold of your credit report on a regular basis is a great way to make sure all the information on your report is true and accurate. It’s also a great way to spot any potential signs of identity theft. If you’re unable to access your credit report or score because TransUnion is unable to verify your identity, do some investigating to find out why, and rectify it.

Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

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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