Should I check my credit score before speaking to a professional?

The short answer is no, it is not necessary to know your credit score before seeking help from a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. Your credit score can influence your ability to access new credit, rent housing, or even qualify for some jobs. But it has no bearing on whether a Licensed Insolvency Trustee will help you or whether you qualify for a Consumer Proposal or Bankruptcy

Person typing on a white laptop with a cup of coffee next to it.

That isn’t to say your credit score is unimportant — far from — it’s just not important for the conversation you’ll have during your Free Confidential Consultation.

So, what information will you need to have?

To help make your Free Confidential Consultation as stress free as possible we ask you bring the following information:

  • A list of who you owe money to and the approximate amount you owe
  • A list of the assets you own and their approximate value, and
  • Your net income or household income, depending on your situation

We recommend you obtain a copy of your free credit bureau in situations where you don’t know all the people / companies you owe money to or the amounts you owe. This document will also indicate if any collection agencies have purchased some of your debt.




If you don’t have the above information and are struggling with your debt, call or email us anyway. We will work with you to obtain all the required information.

Why is your credit bureau so important?

Your credit report is your financial past, present, and future. It includes all past and present credit accounts as well as your payment history, collections history, and whether you’ve ever filed any insolvency proceedings (e.g. Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal). Lenders, employers, and landlords may all request to see your credit bureau before doing business with you.

Applying for a loan is the most common reason people look at their credit bureau. Lenders will use your credit bureau to look at your credit history and the rating attached to each account. The rating system is alphanumerical (e.g. R1, I9, etc.), with the letter representing the type of debt and the number representing the debt’s status.

The letters

Revolving credit, or ‘R’, is debt you can continue to access after a payment, such as a credit card. Instalment credit, or ‘I’ is a debt you make a monthly payment toward over a period of time until the debt in paid in full, like a car loan.

The numbers

Each debt is scored on a scale of zero to nine, with the rating being worse the higher the number gets.

  • ‘0’ is reserved for debts that are too new to rate.
  • ‘1’ means you pay your debts within 30 days, or as agreed upon.
  • ‘9’ means the debt is in collections or was written off in Bankruptcy.

What is a credit score?

A credit score is also known as your credit rating, beacon score or FICO score. Credit bureaus use mathematical calculation to produce a three-digit number which helps lenders make their credit decisions.

Your credit score can range from anywhere between 300-900 depending on which credit bureau you are using. The higher you score, the more likely you are to be approved for the credit you apply for.

Some of the factors that influence your credit score are:

  • Payment history
  • Level of debt in use
  • Credit history
  • Recent inquiries

How to access your credit bureau

In Canada, Equifax (-800-465-7166) and TransUnion (1-800-663-9980) are the two primary credit bureaus lenders will use to report your credit. It is advisable to request your report from both bureaus as each may have slightly different information. Both offer free online reports, as well as more comprehensive paid versions you can order through the mail.

How often should you be looking at your Credit Bureau?

It’s advisable to check your credit bureaus at least once every year. This is important to keep your credit as healthy as possible and your financial opportunities open. Unfortunately, it’s also critical for managing the threat of identity theft in today’s digit world.




Requesting your credit bureau will show as inquiry but will not affect your credit score. By law Equifax and TransUnion must provide you one free credit report per year.

What if there is an error on your Credit Bureau?

Your credit report is the most trusted source of truth for all current and future lenders. Errors can prevent you from getting loans, mortgages, jobs, apartments, and more. It’s imperative you contact the credit bureau and advise of any errors as soon as you notice them.

The credit bureau will provide you with a document that you need to fill out to note the error and provide the corrected information. This process can be a bit drawn out and time consuming, but it is extremely important that you follow through and ensure the information on your credit bureau is correct. Once the credit bureau has made the correction, you should receive a copy of your credit bureau confirming the change.

MNP is here to help

Don’t hesitate to call a Licensed Insolvency Trustee if you are struggling with your finances. Every Canadian is entitled to a Free Confidential Consultation to understand their options to deal with problematic debt. We will help you in any that way can and ensure you have the information you need get back on track and moving forward.

Understanding your credit bureau isn’t necessary to qualify for Life-Changing Debt Solutions, like Consumer Proposal or Bankruptcy — but it can help you understand whether those might be the best options to deal with your financial present and create a better financial future.

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