Canadian Credit Reports

The credit report is a document that shows your previous borrowing behavior and is used by banks and other credit institutions when evaluating your credit applications and when you apply for a loan in Canada. In Canada, credit reports are maintained and issued by two companies – Equifax and TransUnion (a third credit-reporting agency, Experian, entered the market in 2008 but could not establish itself and discontinued its Canadian operations in April 2009).

At TransUnion, for example, one can check who has looked at his or her profile, are all payments posted in a timely way, as well as a full list of creditor contacts. Individual credit scores can be checked for $7.95, and clients get personalized tips on how to enhance their credit score. The credit profiles offered by the credit-reporting agency are important, with employers, creditors and landlords looking at them before making decisions about your future. To place an order, you should provide details such as personal information (name, date of birth, telephone number), address information, etc. With the ID theft protection and credit monitoring provided by TransUnion, one receives daily notifications of major changes in his/ her credit report.

As credit reports contain valuable personal data, they can be viewed only by you and the individuals/ companies you authorize in relation to a debit or credit card request, application for mortgage or other type of loan, purchase or rental of a house or vehicle, job application, and the like. Typically, a credit report will contain the following types of information:

– Personal information, e.g. your full name and date of birth, your present and previous residence(s), social security number, list of employers (both past and current);
– Credit information, i.e. what debt you have already taken (high and low interest rate credit cards, mortgages, lines of credit, etc.);
– Banking information: details about your bank account(s), including any non-sufficient fund cheques you have issued;
– Collection data regarding any debts you could not pay on time and had to therefore deal with a collection agency;
– Public record information, such as bankruptcies or any debt-related court decisions ruled against you. Secured loans, whose repayment is guaranteed by your personal property, may also be featured.
– Consumer statements (any statement you have made on a particular financial situation) and credit report inquiries: the number of inquiries and the persons/ institutions which have made them.
Besides the above information, credit-reporting agencies also include descriptions of your past credit payments. Equifax and TransUnion can describe your payment history in the following ways:

– By providing a chart which details your credit payments for purchased items and assets over the past two years;
– By including a scale that shows how often your have defaulted on a payment by 30, 60 or 90 days;
– By adducing the credit rating submitted by the lender for a particular item of your credit history. This rating usually consists of a number from 1 to 9. ‘1’ indicates that you have paid within 30 days of the due date; ‘9’ shows that you didn’t pay at all. A letter is added as well – I stands for credit payable in installments, O is open credit where you borrow as much as you need up to a pre-determined limit and repay it all on a given date, or R, which indicates revolving credit, such as credit cards.

If you have a poor credit rating and you need a loan you may consider getting a bad credit loan, or applying for a secured credit card.

It is recommended that you request credit reports at least once a year to check whether they contain correct and up-to-date information. Make sure you apply for a credit report from both Equifax and TransUnion as they do not necessarily share information, and the reports they issue may contain different data.