Everyone should be able to check their credit score for free. The importance of credit scores cannot be overstated. They tell a lot about your financial situation including how reliable you are at repaying your debts. This is why it is important to keep an eye on your credit report and ensure it is true and impressive.
Companies will look at your credit score when determining your eligibility for loans, offering you jobs, etc. In fact, even when you shop for a mortgage, your credit score is a factor in your getting approved. Back in the day, you had to shell out $30 to get access to your credit reports; however, it is now possible to check your credit score for free in Canada.
Why do I need to know my credit score?
Keeping an eye on your credit score helps ensure everything’s in place and there are no issues such as incorrect entries in your credit report. This is important because it is common for credit reports to contain errors that can often cost consumers thousands. These issues are reported to bureaus for correction. Also, credit scores can be used to ensure you haven’t been a victim of identity theft.
A look at your credit score can help identify issues such as strange bank accounts or loans. You may not be able to find such issues if you don’t have a look at your credit score or how it changes over a period of time.
Your credit score serves as a foundation for almost all your financial decisions. You must work to improve your credit score if it isn’t where you’d like it to be. The first step to improving your credit score is knowing where it stands.
What is a good credit score?
Credit scores lie between a range of 300 which is the lowest, and 900 the highest. The average score in the country is 650. However, it is possible to go above this.
Anything above 650 is considered average and will help you qualify for a standard loan. Anything under 650 is considered poor and can make it difficult to qualify for loans. A number under 550 is said to be very poor and will make loans very expensive if not impossible to qualify for.
You should try to go above 725 as this figure is considered good. Anything above 760 is considered excellent but can take years to build. However, if you have a poor credit score, don’t despair. There are many things you can do to increase your credit score.
Check Your Credit Score For Free
One of the easiest ways to build a good credit score in Canada is to check it often. Here’s how you can check your credit score for free in Canada:
With more than a million users, Borrowell is a well-known name in Canada as it was the first third-party company to offer free credit reports in the country. The company started a free credit score service in 2016, which proved to be a major success, and now offers free Equifax credit reports. These reports are based on Equifax’s 300-850 score range and Risk Score of 2.0. You can use this information to understand your financial health and take steps to improve it.
All you need is an account to get access to your credit score. You don’t even need a credit card to sign up, simply create an account and answer some identity verification questions to get access to your free credit report in Canada. It takes only three minutes to sign up for a new account and get access to your credit score. As a member, you will receive weekly updates on how your credit score has changed and some great tips on how to improve your score.
A Vancouver-based fintech company, Mogo works with Equifax to provide free credit scores to users in Canada. The company, however, only offers credit scores and no credit reports. If you need a detailed look at your financial history then you will have to choose another platform. Also, it isn’t available in Quebec.
Like most platforms offering credit scores for free in Canada, Mogo offers monthly updates to help you keep a tab on how your score has changed. However, this service is only available for 90 days, after which you will have to activate your Mogo Visa* Platinum Prepaid Card to continue receiving updates. It’s a good option but consider comparing credit cards before you sign up for one. The card comes with some additional benefits including exciting rewards and free identity protection.
#3 Credit Karma
Unlike our first two picks, Credit Karma offers TransUnion credit scores and reports that are updated every week. With over 100m+ international users, Credit Karma is one of the most reliable ways to check your credit score for free in Canada. New to the Canadian market, Credit Karma takes only a few minutes to join. You’ll be asked to provide answers to some questions to get access to your credit report.
You don’t have to go to a third-party platform to get your free credit report. Equifax offers free credit scores in Canada. You can request a copy of your free credit report by phone, in person, or by mail.
Not a lot of people choose this option. Equifax requires users to provide identity documents or financial information in order to access their free credit reports in Canada. Plus, it’s among the slowest methods.
Call 1-800-465-7166 and Equifax’s automatic system will request you to enter your Social Insurance Number. You will not be able to use this option if you do not wish to share your SIN. Once verified, you will receive your Equifax credit report within 10 days via mail.
Users who wish to request via mail will have to download and fill the Canadian Credit Report Request Form. Moreover, you will have to provide copies of your valid identity document and address proof. Examples include your driver’s licence, passport, PR card, birth certificate, Social Insurance card, etc. It is important that at least one of the two documents attached contain your current residential address.
Mailed the form and required documents to this address:
Equifax Canada Co.
National Consumer Relations
Montreal, Quebec H1S 2Z2
The company verifies identity before mailing credit reports and may request additional documents. This option also takes up to 10 business days and you will receive your free credit report via mail.
Lastly, you can visit one of three Equifax offices to request your free report in person. You will be asked to verify your identity by providing copies of two documents (a valid identity document and proof of address not older than 90 days). Moreover, you must carry originals as they will also be checked when you submit your free Canada credit report form that will be provided at the office.
You will receive your copy on the spot.
Just like Equifax, TransUnion also offers free credit reports. Called ‘Consumer Disclosure’ the document can be requested once a month by visiting the office, sending an online application, or requesting by mail or phone. The easiest option is to visit the official site, provide the required information, answer some identity-related questions, and you will get immediate access to your credit report for free in Canada.
Those who wish to request by mail will have to fill and submit a request form to this address:
Consumer Relations Centre, 3115
Harvester Road, Suite 201,
Burlington, Ontario L7N 3N8
You will have to add a copy of your government-issued ID card and address proof. Both documents must be valid. Next, you can call 1-800-663-9980 and follow the instructions. A copy of your credit report will be sent to you via mail in 10 business days.
Lastly, you can visit one of four TransUnion provincial offices to request a free copy of your credit score in Canada. These offices are located in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Ontario.
You will have to carry originals and copies of two identity documents that together include your name, date of birth, photo, and address. Examples include your passport, driver’s licence, utility bill, and CNIB card. You will have to submit a form on-site and a copy of your credit report will be issued to you.
Scotiabank offers TransUnion credit scores for free in Canada. The platform makes it possible to track your monthly scores and view credit reports. Moreover, it also provides tips on how to improve your credit score. You can check your score online or through the mobile app. You must sign up for an account to use this service.
Desjardins has made it possible to check your credit score for free in Canada. You’ll need to access the AccèsD portal interface in order to check your credit score. The company has partnered with TransUnion and allows users to sign up for free and check their scores through the TransUnion Creditview Dashboard. The report is updated every month and comes with some tips on how to improve your rating.
Banks can be a great place to find your credit score for free in Canada. RBC offers this service to all RBC Online Banking clients throughout the country. BMO has partnered with TransUnion and provides some additional tools and calculators to help you gauge your financial situation. With this free service, you will be able to simulate financial scenarios, such as applying for a new mortgage. The score is updated every month and can be checked anytime for free.
CIBC is another bank that offers free credit scores in Canada. Free for clients using the CIBC Mobile Banking App, this service offers free Equifax scores that are updated every three months. However, the service only offers free credit scores and no credit reports. You’ll need the mobile app to access your free credit score in Canada. The company, however, is rumoured to be working on a web-based portal as well.
With BMO, you will be able to check your credit score for free if you have signed up for BMO online or mobile banking. You will find it under the My Profile & eDocuments tab if you log in through the website or under the More menu if you are on the app. The company has created a section called CreditView that is updated every month and offers credit scores, simulators, credit education, and credit reports.
Should I consider paid credit score services?
These were some of the best free ways to get your credit score in Canada. However, if you search the web, you will find that many companies in Canada offer paid credit scores. Consumers often go for paid options as they come with additional benefits including more security.
Some companies that offer free tools are not very secure and may sell your personal information to third-parties. Similarly, some are also known for making money by recommending products and suggesting consumers buy goods or services that they may not need. Moreover, in some cases, you must be a ‘paid’ member to enjoy free credit scores.
Not everyone is comfortable with such arrangements and some choose to opt for paid services. Also, companies that offer paid services often provide additional features or perks such as identity theft protection and full monitoring services. However, we feel that the free offers discussed above are reliable, especially for people who are only interested in free credit scores.
Can checking my credit for free impact my score?
Feel free to check your credit score for free using one of the many ways mentioned earlier as they will not impact your credit score. Only a hard check affects credit scores. Checking your own score or accessing your credit report is considered a soft check that has no impact on your score, no matter how often you access your report.
Your credit score will take a hit if you make a credit application such as a mortgage or credit card. This is especially true if they’re performed in quick succession. This gives the impression that you are short on cash and may not be able to make payments.
How often should I check my credit score?
It might be a good idea to check your credit score every month since most credit scores update every month. In most cases, a score gets updated when lenders report data to the bureaus. However, in some cases, credit scores may update more often, which is why some providers offer weekly updates.