A credit score is a 3-digit numerical representation of your ability to pay off debt and your overall financial health. All credit users in Canada have a score that ranges between 300 and 900, the higher the number the more creditworthy you are.
Canadian Credit Score Ranges
|Credit Score||Credit Level|
|760 – 900||Excellent|
|725 – 759||Very Good|
|660 – 724||Good|
|560 – 659||Fair|
|300 – 559||Poor|
The health of your credit plays an important role in many different scenarios you may come across in your daily life and is a financial tool that can have a significant impact on your financial future. Whether you’re looking for a job, buying a house, renting an apartment, or applying for a credit product, your credit score can have an impact on your success rate. Moreover, a good credit score leads to lower interest rates, higher credit limits, and betters terms.
Canada’s Credit Bureaus
There are two official credit bureaus in Canada, Equifax and Transunion. They are private companies that collect information to help creditors and lenders assess your creditworthiness. Along with some personal information, they collect data regarding the types of credit accounts you have, your repayment history, your debt level, and your credit utilization. In addition, they also collect details about public records and delinquencies, such as bankruptcies or foreclosures.
All this information is collected and stored in your credit report which is shared with lenders and creditors to help them assess your creditworthiness. Just as lenders and creditors are the ones who use this information, they are also the ones who report and provide the credit bureaus with the information. It should be noted that not all lenders and creditors report to both credit bureaus, some only report to one or none at all. As a result, your credit report will contain different information from each credit bureau, which can lead to two different credit scores.
While the information reported to each credit bureau may differ, the type of information collected and used to determine your credit score does not. It’s important to note that both Transunion and Equifax have not made their exact formulas public, they generate your credit scores based on five major categories:
- Payment History – Accounts for 35% of your credit score
- Credit Utilization Ratio – Accounts for 30% of your credit score
- Credit History – Accounts for 15% of your credit score
- Credit Inquiries – Accounts for 10% of your credit score
- Credit Diversification – Accounts for 10% of your credit score
Checking Your Credit Score and Credit Report
In Canada, you are entitled to one free credit report from both credit bureaus every year. You can request a free copy of your credit report by calling, mailing, faxing or visiting the credit bureau in person. Checking your report is important as it can help you verify the accuracy of the information reported and detect any discrepancies or signs of identity theft.
Checking your credit score is also important as it can help you identify your creditworthiness and what kind of credit products you would be eligible for. You can request your credit score from either credit bureaus, but it will usually have a price tag. For example, at TransUnion, you can request your credit score for a fee of $11.95.
Where to Get Your Credit Score in Canada
In Canada, there are many alternative sources that not only provide you with your credit score for free but also supply a number of financial tools that can help you understand and manage your credit better.
Below we’ve listed some of the best alternative sources you can use to manage and check your credit score.
- Credit Verify
- Credit Karma
Powered by Transunion, Credit Verify provides Canadians with easy access to their credit score and credit report. They also provide users with their credit monitoring service which can help protect you from identity theft. Credit Verify’s score simulator tool is also available to those who’d like to assess what will happen to their credit score based on certain financial actions. In order to use their services, you’ll have to create an account and pay a monthly fee of $19.95 ($1 dollar for the first 7 days).
Mogo is a fintech company that offers a variety of different financial services such as personal loans, mortgages, prepaid visa, cryptocurrency trading, and credit score checks and monitoring. Mogo has partnered with Equifax to offer Canadians the ability to access and track their credit score. They also provide users with updates on changes to their credit score every month so they can better manage it. Mogo also provides advice that helps educate users on how to improve their credit scores.
Credit Karam offers Canadians the ability to check their credit score and report for free. With Credit Karma you’ll get your credit score from both credit bureaus and a credit report from Transunion. Along with access to your credit score, Credit Karma also has tools that help you better manage and track your credit such as a credit score simulation tool. They provide weekly reports on your credit report, graphs that show you how your credit score has changed over time, and other graphics that compare your credit score to other Canadians.
Borrowell is a financial services company that offers personal loans, mortgages, credit cards, credit building services, and more. Borrowell also offers Canadians access to their credit score through Equifax along with tools that can help you manage your credit so you can reach your financial goals. Through Borrowell’s credit score service, you’ll be able to monitor your credit, gain expert advice from their AI-powered credit coach and receive personalized credit product offers.
|Cost||Credit Score||Credit Report||Credit Management Tools|
|Credit Verify||$19.95/month||Yes||Yes||Credit score simulator|
|Mogo||Free*||Yes||No||Monthly credit score updates and financial advice.|
|Credit Karma||Free||Yes||Yes||Credit monitoring, comparison tool and credit score simulation.|
|Borrowell||Free||Yes||Yes||Credit coach and credit monitoring|
*certain conditions may apply