Credit scores can play a significant role when it comes to securing a loan, credit card, mortgage or any other credit product. A credit score is a three-digit number between 300 and 900 that is used to express your creditworthiness. The higher your score, the less risky you’ll seem to potential lenders. Given the importance of a credit score, it’s understandable that more and more Canadians are looking for ways to keep tabs on their scores. Thankfully, there are many companies in Canada that provide free credit scores.
Who Was The First Company To Offer Free Credit Scores In Canada?
For a long time, credit reports were only available for free once a year through Canada’s two major credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion. That is, until Mogo. Mogo, a digital payments and financial technology company that was first established in 2003 was the first company in Canada to ever offer free credit scores online. In fact, when a consumer opens a Mogo account, they are not only able to check their credit score for free, but are able to monitor it on a monthly basis and get pro tips from Mogo on how they may be able to improve their credit. Best of all, checking your credit score through Mogo has no impact on your credit.
Other Companies That Offer Free Credit Scores In Canada
Aside from Mogo, there are a few other companies that offer free credit scores online in Canada. Borrowell and Credit Karma are some of the most well-known, however, they only started offering free credit scores years after Mogo. While Borrowell and Credit Karma may have been late to the game, they are great sources. Like Mogo, Borrowell’s credit scores come from Equifax, one of the two major credit bureaus in Canada, while credit scores from Credit Karma are from TransUnion, the other major credit bureau. You can also find your credit score using some Canadian bank apps or websites, such as Scotiabank and Capital One. Note that not all banks offer this service.
The Real Cost of Free Credit Scores
Are free credit scores really free? Let’s find out…
Your Information May Be Used For Marketing Purposes
Privacy is a concern for most people, so understanding how companies use sensitive information such as your credit information is crucial to protecting your personal data. This is why it’s important to understand how many of these providers are really just marketing companies that trade your privacy and data for your “free” scores. Oftentimes, free credit score companies make their money by earning advertising revenue from their advertising partners. Similar to Facebook and Google, they don’t directly sell your data to advertisers, rather they use your data to target you with product recommendations that their advertising partners offer. And like Facebook and Google, free credit score marketing companies tend to market themselves as technology companies, but their entire business models are usually based on connecting advertisers to their user base.
The problem is free credit score marketing companies won’t show you all the options, just those you’re most likely to qualify for (or potentially those most profitable to the marketing company, there’s no way to really know), meaning they’re not necessarily the most affordable or the best possible options for you. For example, if you have a bad credit score, you may be offered a high-cost loan which can leave you worse off than when you started. However, they can also make reasonable assumptions about your qualifying potential which as a borrower is useful information. All in all, it’s a bit of a give and take.
Of course, if you are concerned about your privacy, you should know that typically most marketing companies won’t sell your data without your explicit consent. Nevertheless, sharing your personal credit information with third-party marketing companies can certainly feel invasive, so keep that in mind before you sign up.
It May Only Be “Free” If You Subscribe To A Credit Monitoring Service
Watch out for free credit scores offered with trial periods and credit monitoring services. Some credit monitoring companies will offer “free” credit scores for a trial period, but charge you for an ongoing monitoring service. If you don’t cancel within the trial period, you could be charged a monthly fee for the service. This can at times be misleading and is another marketing tactic you should be aware of.
Why Choose Mogo Financial?
As technology plays an ever-growing role in our lives, privacy concerns have been on the rise. This is why we recommended Mogo. Mogo is a financial technology company with its own ecosystem of financial products. Their business model is not based on sharing your data with advertisers, instead, it is based on you using their services. Mogo is a one-stop-shop that offers a platform to secure loans, save money and more. In other words, for the privacy-conscious, Mogo is probably the best way to get your free credit score.
Acquisition of Moka
Additionally Mogo also recently acquired Moka; a popular investing and savings app in Canada. According to Mogo’s president, the acquisition will help make Mogo’s “digital wallet the most comprehensive solution in Canada”. With Moka, Mogo can now offer better solutions to help you reach your investing and savings goals.
If you’re in need of cash, Mogo has a variety of loan options for you to choose from. You can get personal loans from 5,000 to $35,000, with an APR between 9.9% to 21.5%. Payment terms are flexible and affordable, ranging from 9 – 60 months. Other features you may enjoy include:
- 100 day test drive – This feature allows you to test out the loan for 100 days. If you’re not satisfied with their service, simply give back the principal, and they’ll pay you back for all the interest and fees you paid during the first 100 days.
- No prepayment penalty – An added benefit with Mogo is you can choose to pay off the entire loan at any point in time with absolutely no penalty for early payment.
While you can only get your credit report for free once a year from Canada’s major credit bureaus, there are a plethora of providers who can provide your credit report and score for free. Check out Mogo to obtain your credit score for free without jeopardizing your privacy.