Credit reports in Canada can be obtained for free both online and through regular mail. However, Canadians really have to understand what the term free means. Credit reports and Canadian credit scores can be obtained for free in many ways. Some offers are limited time trials while others are completely free.
Let’s start by understanding that there are only two credit bureaus that offer services to Canadians: Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. Prior to its closing in 2009, Experian Canada was the third major credit bureau offering credit reporting services. All financial credit data that is collected from Canadians, whether you live in Vancouver, Winnipeg or other cities in Canada, are sent to either one of these to companies. The bureau, in turn, compiles all the data into a simple to read document called a credit report.
A credit report contains information about your financial health and may include a credit score. It is used by most creditors in Canada to help them determine if you are the right fit for a new credit card, or whether they should approve you for a mortgage or car loan.
Free Credit Report by Mail
The first option to obtaining a free credit report in Canada is through the mail. By law, the credit reporting agencies are required to provide a copy of your financial data and records absolutely Free. No credit card needed. All Canadian residents have to do is to fill out a form and send it by Canada post to one of the credit bureaus.
Canadians can request for a credit report as many times as they wish in a year. The most you will have to pay is the postage stamp. Keep in mind though that the mail in credit report option does not provide you with a credit score. It is only the credit history portion of the report.
Free Online Credit Reports
For those looking for the added convenience of getting a free credit report online in Canada, there are few options. Online credit reports offered by Canadian credit bureaus are usually provided as a value added service. Meaning they offer credit monitoring and analysis of credit history in Canada as well as providing up-to-date credit score information. There is usually a fee associated with access to online credit reports; however it is generally less that $30 Canadian.
Every few months however, credit bureaus will provide FREE offers which will allow you to access your Canadian credit report online for no charge. You will have to provide credit card information and you will be charged a fee after the initial trial period is over.
The free trial option is great for Canadians who are looking to access their credit report online for free. You will have instant online access to Canadian credit reports and will also have your credit score information. You can cancel the free trial anytime.
However, you may be surprised at the amount of benefits the online option can provide you. In addition to the regular credit history report, you will be provided with a comprehensive analysis of your credit and offered insights on how your credit score can be improved. All this information can come in handy if you are preparing for a big purchase (a home or car) or are planning on improving your credit score.