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Why you should request a credit report

Checking your credit is one of the best ways to stay on top of your financial situation. Even if you are diligent with all your finances, you should still make it a point to request a credit report at least once a year.

Credit reports accomplish three things. First, they can help you determine if there is any unknown debt in your name. For instance, your friend Misa could have used a credit report to find out about her hidden $8,000 debt. Second, they will tell you about any mistakes in your credit file — a CNN survey found that 79 per cent of credit reports reveal errors, which can have serious consequences. Third, scrutinizing your credit history can help identify if someone is trying to steal your identity.

What’s in a credit report?

Credit reports contain comprehensive information on every loan you’ve had in the past six years. You can see whether you paid your bills on time, the credit limit on each account, and how much you owe.

Each line item will also have a score, consisting of a type and rating. “R” stands for revolving credit, like a credit card, whereas “I” stands for installment account, like a mortgage. The ratings are from 0 to 9. Zero means you have no credit history, one means you pay your bills within 30 days, and nine means you have bad debt.

Each report will also list any authorized credit grantors who have accessed your credit file.

How do I check my report?

Canada has two credit reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion, both of which offer free and paid options to access your report. (I Guess once in year, ask them.)

The free option can be accessed by either calling Equifax at 1-800-465-7166 or by completing and mailing in a form to TransUnion. If you are in a rush to access your report, you can get an instant credit report online from either company for about $15.

What if there is a mistake?

My credit report had a line item for a credit card I thought I had cancelled six months earlier. Turns out the credit card company never cancelled the account. I called and asked them to cancel it — problem solved.

If you find an error on your credit report, both agencies offer a free credit dispute service which can be found on their websites. The credit agency will review the disputed item with the creditor and if there is an error, remove it from your report. If your report is updated, the credit agency will send you a revised report 60 days later.

If the dispute is not resolved, however, the item will remain on your credit report and you won’t be notified. You may have to resort to legal action to clear up the error. Ask/ Consult a lawyer.

Canadian credit bureau contacts, based on your province of residence:

Experian Canada Experian Canada, Inc.
150 King Street West, Suite 805
P.O. Box 68
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5H 1J9
Experian Canada credit report request form.
Trans Union of Canada
(For all provinces except Quebec)
TransUnion Canada
Consumer Relations Center
PO Box 338, LCD 1
Hamilton, Ontario
L8L 7W2
TransUnion credit report request form.
(For Quebec residents) Trans Union (Echo Group)
1600 Henri Bourassa Boul Ouest
Suite 200
Montreal, PQ
H3M 3E2
TransUnion credit report request form.
Equifax Equifax Canada Inc.
Consumer Relations Department
Box 190 Jean Talon Station
Montreal, Quebec
H1S 2Z2
Equifax credit report request form
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Canadian credit bureau phone and address information

Identification required for free Canadian credit report by mail

To get your Canadian credit report by mail you must provide two pieces of photocopied identification, front and back. One of your identifications must show a signature.  Acceptable identification includes:

  • Driver’s license or Provincial ID card
  • Birth Certificate or Passport copy
  • Bill statement (gas, telephone, electricity, cable)
  • Certificate of Indian Status
  • Credit Card
  • Citizenship Card

To receive a copy of your Consumer Disclosure report, TransUnion requires the following information: Your full name, present address,  previous address (if present address is less than 2 years,) phone number (optional,) date of birth, place of employment (optional,) Social Insurance Number (optional,) and your signature.

This info. Is for the benefit of our blog subscriber and client awareness program.

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