There are several ways to check your credit scores in Canada. Most consumers will check their credit scores through the two credit bureaus in Canada, Transunion and Equifax. On the other hand, some consumers may use third-party services or banks that can provide access to their credit scores for free or for a low fee.
Unfortunately, there are some instances where your credit scores might not show up when you check them. Thankfully, that is completely normal and there are a number of reasons to explain why this happens.
What Are Credit Scores?
Before we talk about why your credit scores are not showing up, you first need to understand what are credit scores and how are they calculated. Credit scores are 3-digit numbers that range between 300 to 900. The number represents your likelihood of paying your bills on time, with 300 being very unlikely and 900 being very likely. Although keep in mind that everyone’s credit scores react differently, having a credit score of 300 doesn’t mean you have poor financial health. I could mean you’ve had issues with credit accounts in the past or that you’re just starting to build a credit history. Generally, those with credit scores below 560 are considered to have poor credit and those with 760 and above have excellent credit.
Canadian Credit Score Ranges
Why Aren’t My Credit Scores Showing Up?
Although everyone’s credit profile is somewhat different, here are some common reasons why your credit scores might not show up when you check it:
Not Enough Information
If your credit report is too thin, then the credit bureau won’t have enough information on you to be able to generate your credit scores. This can happen due to a number of reasons including:
- Lack Of Reporting – Not all lenders report to both credit bureaus. Some only report information to one, while others may not report to either. When taking out a credit product, it’s important to ask your lender if they report to both the credit bureaus. If they only report to one, it can result in you having a credit score with one credit bureau but not the other.
- Not Actively Using Credit Accounts – As mentioned above, your credit scores are generally calculated based on your payment history, outstanding debt, public records, credit history and credit inquiries. If you don’t actively use any credit products, there won’t be data in any of these categories for the credit bureaus to calculate your scores.
- Closed Accounts – Information on your credit report stay on your file for a certain period of time before disappearing. Closed accounts can stay on your file for up to 10 years, but after that, they disappear. This can affect the amount of information on your credit report and in turn, the credit bureau’s ability to calculate your credit scores.
It’s Your First Credit Product
In general, credit bureaus require at least six months of information on your first credit product before it can generate your credit scores. If you’ve recently moved to Canada or are a young credit user, you may need to simply use your credit product for a few more months before the credit bureaus can calculate your credit scores.
The Credit Bureau Makes An Error
If you check your credit with Equifax or TransUnion, it’s possible your score might not show up due to a glitch in their system or an error on your credit reports, such as the wrong address or Social Insurance Number. Though it doesn’t happen often, another report might also have been opened in your name accidentally. Any of these incidents may prevent the bureau from creating your score, so it’s important to inform both bureaus immediately if you discover one.
Find out what happens if Equifax unable to verify your identity?
A Computer Error Or Glitch Has Occurred
Your credit score might not be appearing because of a simple error or glitch in the credit bureaus’ reporting system (or the third-party score provider you’re using). If this is the case, it’s important that you get in contact with the credit bureau to discuss the issue.
Find out what happens if TransUnion is unable to verify your identity?
How Are Credit Scores Calculated?
Essentially, your credit score is a numerical value that summarizes how you behave as a credit user. There are several different scoring models available and all credit score providers have their own way of calculating credit scores. But, generally speaking, to calculate and adjust your score, credit bureaus typically focus on five main factors.
Payment History (~35%)
One of the largest factors used in the calculation of your credit scores is your payment history. This includes when you make your payments on time and when you miss payments. Furthermore, how often you make missed payments or make late payments, as well as how much you owe and any delinquencies are all taken into consideration.
Outstanding Debt (~30%)
Specifically, what your balances are compared to your available credit when it comes to revolving credit accounts like credit cards. Do you max out your credit card every month? Or are you constantly carrying a high balance on all your credit cards? These can affect your credit scores.
Credit History (~15%)
When you first start using credit, you’ll usually have a lower credit score, partly because you don’t have a long credit history. While everyone’s credit scores react differently, typically the longer you use credit products responsibly, the healthier your scores will be. Lenders like to see that potential borrowers have experience managing credit accounts, a long and healthy credit history can help with this.
Using several credit products responsibly can be healthy for your score. However, it’s not a great idea to consistently apply for, activate, and cancel credit accounts. This is because every time a potential lender checks your credit, a hard inquiry will appear on your credit reports. Hard inquiries can impact the calculation of your credit scores in a negative way, depending on the consumer and the scoring model used.
Public Records (~10%)
On your credit reports, a public record could be a negative piece of information like a bankruptcy, account in collections, liens, or lawsuits. This type of information could negatively impact the calculation of your credit scores.
Who Checks Your Credit Scores?
Banks, Credit Unions And Alternative Lenders
Banks, credit unions, and alternative lenders will often look at your credit scores when you apply for new credit products. These lenders and creditors will evaluate your credit scores to assess your creditworthiness. Generally, the closer your credit scores are to 900, the less risky you’re considered as a borrower.
Having high credit scores are also important as you’ll have a better chance of being approved, a lower interest rate, and a better repayment term. Poor credit scores typically result in a higher cost overall.
Landlords And Employers
A potential landlord might also ask to check your credit scores because it’s an easier way for them to assess whether or not you’ll be able to pay your rent on time. Some employers may also check your credit scores to gain better insight into you. While not all employers do so, certain jobs that involve the management of financial data may require it as part of a background check.
Where Can You Find Your Credit Scores?
There are a few ways you can check your credit scores in Canada. No matter which method you choose, it’s best to regularly check your credit scores to make sure there are no issues affecting them.
Canadians can get their credit scores online from Transunion and Equifax.
- Equifax – Canadians can get their Equifax credit scores and credit report for free by simply creating an account online.
- Transunion – When you purchase Transunion’s credit monitoring service, you’ll also be able to access your credit scores for free. However, if you live in Quebec, you can get your credit scores for free from Tranuinion by requesting a copy of your Consumer Disclosure by mail or in-person.
Many banks and credit unions have also been offering their clients a way to check their credit scores. BMO, CIBC and RBC are some banks in Canada that allow their clients to check their credit scores through the bank’s mobile app or website.
As mentioned, there are a number of third-party services that provide access to your credit scores. Depending on the services provide you choose, you may be able to obtain your credit scores for free or for a fee.
FAQs On Credit Scores
Why does my credit score show up on Equifax but not Transunion?
How many credit scores do I have?
Why do I have a zero credit score?
What Is A Credit Report?
When it comes to checking your credit scores, it’s important to create a habit out of it. Checking at least once a year can help you track your credit health and prepare your finances for future events, like purchasing a home. Furthermore, when you check your credit on a regular basis you can catch errors and issues and report them to the appropriate bureau.