Get Your Free Credit Report
Fee-for-service financial planner and founder of PlanEasy.ca
Credit reporting has turned into a multi-billion-dollar business but getting your credit report doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact, you can get a free credit report mailed to you once per year and all it takes is just 5-minutes.
A credit report represents all your recent credit history, mortgages, credit cards, vehicle loans, lines of credit, and even some bill payments. It’s often referred to as a “consumer disclosure” or “credit file disclosure” but most people call it a credit report.
Every piece of debt you’ve recently owned (even if paid off or closed) should be represented on your credit report. It will also capture your current and past addresses, phone numbers, even employers.
In today’s world your credit report is very important. It directly impacts your ability to qualify for new debt. Plus, it often gets pull as part of a thorough background check. It can also help identify fraud and identity theft early on, limiting the damage.
Your credit report is so important that it’s a good idea to check and review it on a regular basis.
Multiple Credit Reporting Agencies
There are multiple credit reporting agencies in Canada and each one could have different information regarding your credit activity. So, it’s important to order your free credit report from both credit reporting agencies.
Equifax and TransUnion each have their own credit report and credit score. Depending on their partners, the information on your credit report could vary from one to the other. That’s why it’s a good idea to order both.
Ordering Your Free Credit Report
Ordering your free credit report couldn’t be easier. All it takes is a phone call to both credit reporting agencies. The automated call will ask a series of questions that are meant to verify your identity.
Visit this Government of Canada page for the phone numbers to call.
It’s a good idea to have your credit card number and SIN handy because these two pieces of information will likely be used to verify your identity.
Additional information could also be requested to help verify your identity. This could be a recent address, phone number, purchase etc.
Checking your credit report regularly is a good idea because it can help identify mistakes. These mistakes could impact your credit score, your ability to qualify for a lower interest rate, the amount of debt you qualify for, and if done as part of a background check, could impact a future job opportunity.
Mistakes happen and correcting them is easy. Your free credit report will come with instructions on how to correct any errors you notice.
Looking For Fraud
Another very important reason to get your free credit report is to identify possible fraud or misuse. All of your recent and current debts will be listed on your credit report. If something looks unfamiliar, it’s important to follow-up immediately.
Prompt action can help limit the damage from credit fraud.
Your credit report will also highlight who’s been looking at your credit history. It will highlight both credit and non-credit related inquiries.
Lastly, if you have been a victim of credit fraud in the past, your credit report will highlight any fraud alerts, disclosures, or instructions you’ve given. If you have been a victim of credit fraud, then these instructions are important to help prevent further issues.
When you order your free credit report it’s important to understand that your credit report and your credit score are two different things. For those expecting to receive your credit score you might be disappointed.
Your credit score is a value out of 800-900. Anything over 760-800 is considered excellent. Your credit score is a calculated value that represents the information in your credit report. It’s a proprietary formula and therefore not provided free of charge. It can also differ between credit reporting agencies.
Your credit report won’t necessarily include your credit score, although for some people they’re now including your credit score on your free credit report as well.
Get Your Free Credit Report Every Year
Get your free credit report today. It’s easy, it’s important, and it takes 5 minutes.
Checking your credit report regularly is part of a good financial routine. It helps identify errors, or worse, it helps identify possible fraud. It’s a best practice to check your credit report once per year. You can also stagger your requests and do it every 6-months and simply alternate which credit reporting agency you use.
Doing it regularly helps you stay on top of your credit history and keep your credit looking impeccable.
If you haven’t ordered your credit report recently, then do now, it only takes 5-minutes.
Financial planner, personal finance geek and founder of PlanEasy.