In Canada, there is something called a credit disclosure rule, which basically states that all Canadians have free access to their credit report. Unlike our US counterparts, Canadians are eligible for free annual credit report as many times per year as they wish. Many individuals take advantage of this offer and they check their credit history to determine that everything is accurate and as it should be, some of us don’t!
So, why is it important to review your credit profile? Who has access to your credit score and most importantly why? As you may already know your credit history is very important for almost every aspect of your life. If you’re planning on purchasing a car, applying for a loan or even wanting to rent a new apartment, your credit is an important factor in determining whether or not you’re even eligible and at what rate. Clearly the better your rating the better your interest and the better the terms. However, if you do have poor credit or little credit then you may not even qualify, not even for a higher interest rate! This can be extremely frustrating but that’s why it’s important to know what you’re dealing with.
An annual credit report can be viewed for up to 30 days by you for free. Most sites require you to sign up with a credit or debit card in order to ensure they get their money if you fail to cancel. However, most sites will give you a 30-day free trial. This will allow you to view what’s in the report and cancel should you feel the need without being charged for additional months.
Sites to Avoid
If you are planning on obtaining your credit report online, you will want to avoid some of the following sites which don’t provide services to Canadians.
- Credit Karma (www.creditkarma.com)
- MyScore (myscore.com)
- MyFico (www.myfico.com)
- Annual Credit Report (www.annualcreditreport.com)
- Credit Report (www.creditreport.com)
- Free Credit Report (www.freecreditreport.com)
Also, avoid sites with questionable links and have little or no way of contacting them. Some sites may be set up only to collect your personal information and will turn around and sell that information to criminals or to gain unauthorized access.
If you are Canadian and need relevant Canadian credit reports – the same ones used by banks and lenders in Canada – look for TransUnion or Equifax.
Unfortunately, if you’re planning on buying anything or applying for a credit card at any point in your life then banks, financial institutions as well as retailers will be able to view your credit history and credit score. This isn’t something that you have any control over. If you don’t want your credit to be viewed by such companies or businesses then you would have to opt out of getting any type of credit card or loan throughout your life. For most individuals that’s not an option.
Your annual credit report is going to be used to determine your debt to income ratio, how well you repay loans and how quickly, whether or not you’ve been late on payments and how many times and it will help a company or business determine if you’re trustworthy in paying back loaned money. This is also a great way to gauge whether or not you qualify for a great interest rate or not.
If you are concerned about your credit rating or would like to stay informed and in control of what gets reported about you, consider opting in for credit monitoring services such as the one offered by TransUnion Canada.