Your credit score and credit report are a vital part of your financial well-being.
In this post, you’ll learn how to get both for free in Canada within minutes.
What is a credit score and credit report?
A credit report is simply a snapshot of your credit history. When you apply for new credit and make payments, your lender will report the information to the credit reporting agencies in Canada. So, your credit report will show the credits you have applied for in the past, the payments you’ve made, your personal information and so on.
Your credit score is a 3-digit number, ranging from 300-900, calculated from the information in your credit report. It is an indicator of how well you have managed credit in the past and a predictor of how risky you are as a borrower; that is how likely it is that you’ll repay what you borrow.
A good credit score will get you preferred interest rates and get you approved easily for things like credit cards, car loans, mortgages, cell phone plans. But it is not the only information that a lender will consider before granting you credit. For example, your income will also be important when getting a mortgage.
How to get your credit score for free
You can get your credit score from any of the credit bureaus in Canada for a fee. But why pay when you can get it for free? Here are some options for getting your credit score for free:
Borrowell provides Canadians with tools to better understand, manage and master their credit.
You can set up a new account in a few minutes to get access to your Equifax credit score and credit report.
The scores are automatically updated weekly, and you get access to Molly, Borrowell’s AI-powered credit coach, that provides tips that may help you improve your credit score.
2. Credit Karma
Credit Karma has a similar offering to Borrowell, but the scores are provided by TransUnion. You can easily sign up for a new account in just 2 minutes.
In addition to the free credit score and credit report, you also get helpful tips, insights, educational resources and other products and services to help you manage your financial well-being.
Mogo also provides free credit scores from Equifax, in addition to tips on how to improve your credit score.
4. Your bank
You may be able to view your scores from one of the credit agencies in Canada.
For example, if you have an RBC account, you can check your TransUnion credit score through internet banking. The link is on the right side of the account summary page, under My Services section.
How to get your credit report for free
Here are 2 ways to quickly get your credit report in Canada
As part of their offering, Borrowell let’s you check your credit report anytime. The credit report is also provided by Equifax.
And don’t worry, checking your credit report will not affect your credit score. It is seen as a “soft” inquiry.
2. Credit Bureaus
You can request for a copy of your credit report from the 2 credit bureaus in Canada. They may have different information about your credit history so you should get a copy from both.
Equifax refers to your credit report as “credit file disclosure”, while TransUnion calls it “consumer disclosure.”
The good thing is your credit score isn’t impacted when you order your own credit report from them.
Here’s how to order from each credit bureau:
Mail: Fill the form here and send to the address provided or fax to 514-355-8502. Remember to include the supporting documents (ID). They are needed to validate your identity.
There’s an option to purchase your Equifax Credit Score. Just ignore and use Borrowell to get the credit score instead.
You should receive the credit report between 5 to 10 days.
Phone: You can also order by calling 1-800-465-7166. It is an automated system and is available 24 hours a day.
Mail: You can order by mail by completing this form and mailing to the address on the form. You must include 2 pieces of accepted ID (copies) in your request.
Phone: By calling 1-877-713-3393 in Quebec or 1-800-663-9980 for all other provinces.
Online: You can also check your TransUnion credit report online once every month. You will be asked a series of questions for authentication before you get access to the credit report.
Since you can’t order your Equifax credit report online, the easiest and fastest way to access your credit report from the 2 credit bureaus in Canada is by
- using the online option to check your TransUnion credit report
- signing up with Borrowell to access your Equifax credit report
Why do you need to monitor your credit score and credit report?
These are the main benefits for keeping track of your credit score and credit report.
- Stay in control of your financial health: Your credit score is an indicator of your creditworthiness and an essential requirement for many applications, such as new credit, rent and even job. So, it is important to monitor it regularly and keep it as high as possible.
- Early detection of errors or frauds: By monitoring your credit scores and credit report regularly, you’ll be able to detect any errors or fraudulent requests early enough. If you see any credit application you didn’t make, it could be a sign of credit fraud or identity theft.
At a minimum, check your report from each of the bureaus at regular intervals. For example, if you request for your Equifax credit report in a month, wait for another 3 months to order for your report from TransUnion. This way, you will be able to detect an error or fraud earlier.
How is your credit score calculated?
It depends on a number of factors, each with varying weights. Credit scores are calculated using models developed by the credit bureaus by weighing these factors that predict your ability to repay what you borrow.
For Equifax, the core factors and their weights are:
- Payment History: 35%
- Credit Utilization: 30%
- Length of Credit History: 15%
- Credit mix: 10%
- Credit inquiries: 10%
To learn more about each factor and how they affect your credit score, check our post on how credit scores are calculated and how to interpret them.
It is important to monitor your credit report and credit score. You can start today by using any of the free options we covered above.