The Privacy Commissioner of Canada recommends checking your credit report once a year to protect against identity theft. The Canadian provincial credit reporting laws grant consumers the right to receive a free copy of your credit report by mail if you request in writing or in person and include a photocopy of identification.
The two major credit reporting agencies in Canada are:
Equifax Canada Inc. www.equifax.com
TransUnion of Canada www.transunion.ca
You may also request your free personal credit file by phone using TransUnion’s secure automated telephone service at 1-800-663-9980. It only takes about 7 minutes.
Note: Your free credit reports do not include your credit score. You can request your free credit report from Equifax and purchase your credit score for $11.95 (tax included).
Once you get your credit report, check for new accounts opened, inquiries made, address change and identification information change to ensure accuracy and watch out for any debts or activities you haven’t authorized. If you find something inaccurate, inform the credit reporting agency right away. As mandated by consumer reporting legislation, you can have information deleted that cannot be verified but you cannot change negative information that is accurate on your credit file.
Factors that influence your credit score include types of account (installment, revolving, open payment), numbers of account, limit on accounts, balance outstanding and if they are “paid as agreed.” Generally, the credit is grouped by industry and the more diversified in industries and types of account, the higher the score.
On the other hand, it can negatively impact your credit score if you apply for credit from lenders known to charge high interest rate or lenders that provide credit to people with low credit score (ie. department store credit cards). Too many inquiries (ie. when lenders check your credit rating) in a 12 month period may also negatively impact your credit score because it could be viewed as a sign that the consumer is over-extending oneself. If the different inquiries happened in a very short period of time, as when people are shopping for the best rate from different lenders, the inquiries are often considered as one event and do not have a negative effect on credit score.
Your credit score is one of the important factors lenders consider before they extend credit to you. In addition to your credit score, lenders also look at your debt-to-income ration, income stability, type of loan/credit you are seeking, payment history, how much debt you are carrying, length of time you’ve been using credit (more than 5 years is considered solid), etc.
Talk to your mortgage broker before you go shopping for a home to find out how much you can afford and to arrange for a mortgage. If you need referral to mortgage brokers, please contact me at 604-818-7317 or firstname.lastname@example.org