What Information Appears On My Credit Report

2017-02-21   minute read

Credit Counselling

With the steadily increasing record levels of consumer debt amongst Canadians, as a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, I am surprised by the number of people who contact me without having ever obtained their own credit report. One reason for this is certainly that they are simply unsure of how to obtain their credit report.

Another viable reason could be that many people are not sure what a credit report is and what information appears on their credit report.

What is a Credit Report?

It is a summary of your credit history. This will be a history of your use of credit (such as a credit card, personal loan, line of credit and even use of a “buy now, pay later” offer). Lenders send information about your accounts to the credit reporting agencies. Your credit report also includes personal information that is available in public records, such as a bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal.

  1. What kind of information appears on a Credit Report?
    1. It contains factual information about your sources of credit, such as:
      1. When you opened your account, how much you owe, whether you make your payments on time, whether you miss payments and whether you go over your credit limit.
      2. Matters of public record such as court judgments, filing for bankruptcy or a consumer proposal, and secured loans such as a mortgage or car loan.
      3. Any of your accounts that were referred to a collection agency by the lender.
      4. A list of people that have made an inquiry about your credit report such as credit card companies, banks, a landlord and yourself.
    2. It also provides your Credit Score which is a three-digit number that is calculated using a mathematical formula based on the information in your credit report. The higher the number the better your credit score. You get points for actions that demonstrate to lenders that you can use credit responsibly but you lose points for things that show you have difficulty managing credit. Credit scores in Canada range from 300 to 900 points. The best score is 900 points. As you use credit, your credit report is updated and your credit score will continually change. While your credit score is an important factor that lenders will look at in deciding whether to approve you for credit, they may also consider other factors, such as your income, job and any assets you own.

I recommend that everyone obtain their credit report (from both Equifax and TransUnion) and review it carefully. I also recommend frequently obtaining copies of one’s credit report (at least once per year) in order to better understand how use of credit is affecting the credit record and credit score and to also identify any errors that need to be corrected (yes, these do occur and can be corrected). For more information on credit reports and credit scores do visit the website of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

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