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How To Get Your Free Credit Report and Credit Score in Canada

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Did you know that you can request your credit report free of charge from credit bureaus in Canada? Yes, you can. And, while on the subject of getting things for free, you can also obtain your FREE credit score from several financial institutions in Canada.

It’s high time you stopped paying $20 or more to check these two measures of your financial health.

Read on to see how.

What is a Credit Report?

A credit report is a document compiled by credit bureaus that details how you have used credit over the years. Your credit report shows your:

  • Personal information, including your name and address (current and previous)
  • Employment: current and previous
  • Open and closed credit/loan accounts, account payment history, and outstanding balances
  • Credit inquiries
  • Collections, bankruptcies, lawsuits, foreclosures, if any

Essentially, it shows your financial history, how you have used credit in the past, and how you currently manage your debts. Lenders report all this information to the credit bureaus, and they update your credit report regularly.

When you want to open a new credit facility, e.g. personal loan, credit card, or mortgage, the lender pulls your credit report and score to assess your creditworthiness, i.e. how risky it is to do business with you and what are the chances you will default and be unable to pay them back.

What is a Good Credit Score in Canada?

A credit score summarizes your credit report using a 3-digit number. It is a snapshot of your creditworthiness and is calculated using various formulas.

Credit scores range from Poor (300-559) to Very Good (725-759) and Excellent (760-900). When you have a Very Good to Excellent credit score, you qualify for better interest rates and offers.

Why Your Credit Report and Credit Score Are Important

There are many good reasons why you should ensure your credit report and score are in good standing:

  • If you become a victim of identity theft or fraud, your credit report is one place to detect it. Identity/credit fraud can get you into lots of trouble, including losing money and a tainted reputation.
  • Your credit report/score will affect your ability to secure a loan, mortgage, credit card, etc.
  • Your credit report/score can significantly affect your day-to-day living, including your eligibility for a job, rental, cell phone contract, etc.
  • Financial institutions and credit bureaus are prone to making mistakes, and your credit rating can become damaged through no fault of your own.

To avoid any of these problems, it’s essential you look through your credit report one to two times a year, as well as monitor your credit score for any red flags or fraudulent activity.

how to check credit score and report in canada

How To Get Your Free Credit Report in Canada

In Canada, you are entitled to one free credit report per year from each credit bureau. The major credit bureaus in Canada are TransUnion and Equifax.

This free credit report may also be called “Consumer Disclosure” or “Credit File Disclosure” and does not show your credit score.

TransUnion

TransUnion now offers four ways to request your credit report:

  • Online: This is a quick and easy way to view your credit report online. I was able to view mine in less than 5 minutes!
  • Mail: Download their Consumer Request form, complete it, and mail it to – TransUnion Consumer Relations Centre, PO Box 338 LCD1, Hamilton, Ontario L8L 7W2.
  • In-Person: Visit one of their offices to request your free report. For both mail and in-person requests, you will need 2 pieces of ID.
  • Phone: Request your credit report by calling 1 (800) 663-9980.

Equifax

There are 3 ways to request your credit report from Equifax:

  • Mail/Fax: Download and complete their Request Form and mail it to – National Consumer Relations, Box 190 Jean Talon Station, Montreal, Quebec H1S 2Z2, or fax the completed form to (514) 355-8502.
  • Phone: Call their automated interactive system at 1-800-465-7166. You will need your SIN.
  • In Person: Visit one of their offices and request a free copy of your credit report. You will need 2 forms of valid ID for both in-person and mail requests.

**You can also get your free credit report via Borrowell – more details are below.

How To Get Your Free Credit Score in Canada

The credit report provided by TransUnion and Equifax does not contain your credit score. They want you to pay $$ for that. Here are four companies that will provide your credit score for free:

1. Borrowell: Sign up to see your credit score (Equifax) and get monthly updates. They will also show you your credit report.

2. Credit Karma: Get weekly updates on your credit score (TransUnion). They will also show your credit report.

3. Mogo: Get monthly updates on your credit score (Equifax) when you get and activate a free prepaid card. Not available in Quebec.

Access to monthly credit score updates (+ report) is great for monitoring and detecting errors or fraudulent activity.

If you prefer a daily credit monitoring service (paid) that alerts you to key changes on your account, you can check out TransUnion’s credit monitoring service.

Does Checking Your Credit Score Affect It?

There are two main types of checks (inquiries) that can occur when lenders pull your credit: “soft check” and “hard check.”

A hard check is made by lenders who want to get a full idea of your creditworthiness to approve or disapprove your credit application. Hard checks impact your credit score negatively.

Soft checks occur when a lender pulls your credit just to get a background on you. For instance, during a mortgage pre-approval or if your bank wants to pre-approve you for a credit card offer. Checking your own credit score is also considered a soft check, and it does not impact your score.

Closing Thoughts

I signed up with Borrowell and Credit Karma and receive monthly notifications via email to check my updated credit score. Therefore, for less than 3 minutes every month, I can monitor my credit rating for free.

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Author

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu, personal finance expert, author, and founder of Savvy New Canadians, has written about money matters for over 10 years. Enoch has an MSc (Econ) degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. His expertise has been highlighted in major publications like Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC News, Toronto Star, Financial Post, CTV News, TD Direct Investing, Canadian Securities Exchange, and many others. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and recently created a practical investing course for beginners. You can read his full author bio.

About Savvy New Canadians

Savvy New Canadians is one of Canada's top personal finance platforms. Millions of Canadians use our site each year to learn how to save for retirement, invest smartly, maximize rewards, and earn extra cash. We have been featured in prominent finance media, including Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC, MSN, Wealthsimple, and TD Direct Investing. Learn more about Savvy New Canadians.

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3 thoughts on “How To Get Your Free Credit Report and Credit Score in Canada”

  1. Gravatar for John

    I tried to get the credit score through borrowed after accessing and printing the report from Transunion.
    Like others (google search), equifax claimed I answered the online questions incorrectly. It looks like they are trying to force me to pay for this number. I am still looking into getting this score without paying.
    Thanks for your article.

    • Gravatar for Enoch Omololu

      @John: Sorry to hear you had some issues with accessing your CS. The questions they ask when you try to obtain your credit score are generally related to private information that only you can answer…like your previous addresses, bank transactions, etc. This is how they ensure that an impostor does not access your info and steal your identity to commit fraud. Personally, I have never had any issues with using Borrowell.

  2. Gravatar for delores reid

    I got my credit score fast but i wanted to see if anyone has tried to open any credit in my or my husband name because i receive an alert that some data may have been hacked
    and i wanted to see a written report for me and my husband and i found it difficult to get
    make it easier for the seniors please

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