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What's a Credit Score?

A credit score is a three-digit number that represents your creditworthiness as a consumer. In Canada, it ranges from 300 - 900 and is based on the information compiled in your credit report. Though it may just be a number, it's significance is prominent and will impact you throughout your life. It is a measure of your financial stability in front of lenders, creditors, and other parties such as insurance companies, landlords, or even future employers. A high credit score tells potential lenders that you're a financially responsible person who is very likely to repay their debts on time. While a low credit score either means you have not had enough time to build a credit score or you've struggled with financial problems in the past.

What's Included on a Credit Report?

A credit report is a file that contains your financial history. This information provides potential creditors with the means to scrutinize your personal information, public records, credit payments, and inquiries. Depending on what they see in each section will either persuade or dissuade them into offering you the credit you requested.

Personal Information

This includes information like your name, phone number, address, SIN, employment information, etc.

Public Records

Things such as bankruptcy, foreclosure, a lawsuit, tax debt, etc. will be reported and accessible to those who pull your credit.

Credit Payments

This includes any payments made to a lender like a bank or a creditor like a credit card provider.

Inquiries

Anything from a cell phone to a mortgage can be subject to a credit check. Every credit check you've been through will be reported.

What's Credit Monitoring?

Credit monitoring is a service that allows you to be informed of any and all activity going on with your credit report. Typically, when you have your credit report monitored, it will keep tabs on your file and alert you of any unusual activity such as new accounts being opened, hard inquiries, and any existing account changes.

Benefits of Credit Monitoring

  • Gives you the opportunity to detect any fraudulent activity
  • Helps you understand your credit report
  • Allows you to check your credit report as often as you like
  • Can help you maintain a healthier credit score

Why Checking Your Credit Score and Report is Important?

Having access to your credit score and report will allow you to know where you stand before a potential lender pulls your credit. Being able to check your credit will give you the upper hand when dealing with different creditors in your life. Whether you're looking to finance a car, a house, or make a large purchase, most creditors will check your credit score to determine your creditworthiness.

When a creditor or lender requests your credit report as part of their decision-making process, a hard inquiry is recorded in your credit file. Hard inquiries remain in your credit file for up to two years and can in some cases have a negative impact on your credit score. By verifying your credit ahead of time you can get ahead of the game by making decisions that will lead to more favourable results for you.

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