Your credit history is recorded in files maintained by two main credit-reporting agencies in Canada: Equifax and TransUnion. If you are trying to improve your credit score, or are considering applying for a loan, it is wise to get a copy of your credit report.
Why is this important? Your credit report is a picture at any point in time of how lenders perceive your creditworthiness. You get a credit file the first time you borrow money. Periodically, lenders send updates to the credit reporting agency about your credit history including new loan applications (even if you were not approved), late payments etc. All of this is factored into your credit score. Equifax and TransUnion use a scale between 300 and 900. A high credit score allows you to borrow money, and it also allows you to borrow money at better rates than someone with a lower credit score.
If you don’t know what’s on your credit report, you can’t take steps to improve it. According to Industry Canada, although you can phone, e-mail or fax a request for a copy of your credit report, the safest way to do so it to get a copy either on-line or by mail. You can purchase your credit report on-line, or you can mail away and get a free copy.
If you pay for an on-line version here is what you should receive:
- a copy of your credit report;
- your credit score;
- and a score analysis online.
It is particularly important that you review your credit report well in advance of when you need to borrow money. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada provides an excellent resource tool on what you need to know about your credit report and how to check it for fraud and errors.