Credit Score Finder: Get your credit score

Your credit score determines your borrowing power - do you know yours?

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Whenever you apply for credit – whether it’s a credit card, line of credit, personal loan, car loan or mortgage – a potential lender will look at your history of borrowing and repaying to determine how much of a risk you are, and to ultimately determine how likely they are to get their money back. The better your credit history, the easier you’ll find it to obtain credit and you’ll get more favourable interest rates.

What is a credit score?

Your credit score is a three-digit numerical representation of your credit report that falls between 300 and 900. It’s calculated by the two major credit bureaus in Canada: Equifax and TransUnion. Each credit-scoring bureau uses different criteria for measuring your credit score, weighing your history against a proprietary algorithm. The higher your credit score is, the better position you’re in to get approval for financial products with low interest rates and flexible terms.

Whenever you make an application for credit (e.g. a mortgage, credit card or personal loan), the lender will turn to the credit bureaus to look at your score and history, which will play a major role in the success or failure of your application, as well as the rates and terms you’re offered. By looking at your credit report in conjunction with its own assessment of your circumstances, the lender will decide the following:

  • Whether to lend to you
  • How much to lend to you
  • How much interest to charge you
  • The length of your loan term

When deciding whether to take you on as a customer, some lenders will look at your more recent financial history to determine their decision. However, your financial decisions – both good and bad – will remain on record for up to six or seven years.

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Name Product Starting price Trial period Credit scores Credit monitoring Credit reports Update frequency
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What’s the difference between a credit score, a credit rating and a credit report?

Your credit report is a detailed record of your borrowing history. Also known as your credit history, your credit report contains a list of the applications you’ve made for different forms of credit (whether they’ve been approved or not); your repayment history; details of any defaults you may have; and information about the personal and business accounts you hold. It also contains personal information including your name and age, as well as data held on public record, such as bankruptcies.

Your credit score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness based off your credit report. Your score determines your credit rating which could be “poor”, “fair”, “good”, “very good” or “excellent”. Your credit score is calculated by credit bureaus using the information on your credit file and is a number between 300 and 900. The higher your credit score, the lower your risk as a borrower.

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What are the credit score tiers and ranges?

There is no single, definitive credit score for an individual – credit scores differ slightly depending on the bureau, which means your Equifax score will probably be slightly different from your TransUnion credit score.

While not set in stone, the general credit tiers are:

  • Excellent credit score: 800-900
  • Very good credit score: 720-799
  • Good credit score: 650-719
  • Fair credit score: 600-649
  • Poor credit score: 300-599

What factors make up a credit score – and how is it calculated?

The two main credit bureaus in Canada – Equifax and TransUnion – use different algorithms to calculate your credit score. Not only does this mean your credit score will differ slightly depending on which bureau you check, it also means that each bureau weighs factors differently to calculate your credit score. Here are the five main factors that make up your credit score:

  • Payment history. Your payment history demonstrates how you have repaid the credit that you’ve borrowed – whether that’s on time and in full, late, in partial payments, etc. Lenders will also report the number and type of credit accounts that you have. Having a variety of different types of credit accounts can be helpful – such as credit cards, loans, mortgages, etc. Your payment history makes up around 35% of your credit score.
  • Credit utilization ratio. This is the amount of credit you’re using compared to the total amount of credit available to you. Running your balances up to your credit limit, or even over 40% of your available credit limit, can negatively affect your score. Try to keep your credit utilization ratio around 30% or less. Your credit utilization ratio makes up around 30% of your credit score.
  • Credit history. This is the length of time that you’ve had your accounts open for, and can affect your credit score for better or for worse. The longer you have accounts open, such as credit cards or lines of credit, the more positively your credit score will be impacted. Your credit history makes up around 15% of your credit score.
  • Public records. Declaring bankruptcy or having a collections agency come after you will damage your score. Public records make up around 10% of your credit score.
  • Recent inquiries. Applying for new credit means a lender will likely conduct a hard pull on your credit report to determine whether or not you’re a good candidate for borrowing money. But doing a hard pull means your credit score will take a temporary dip. A few recent inquiries on your credit report can raise red flags with lenders since it looks like you’re trying desperately to access a lot of credit at one time. Inquiries make up around 10% of your credit score.

Do you know your credit score?

How is my credit score calculated?

Not all factors contribute equally to determine your credit score. Here’s how each factor weighs up:

  • Payment history: 35%
  • Credit utilization ratio: 30%
  • Credit history: 15%
  • Public records: 10%
  • Inquiries: 10%

Five mistakes that can affect your credit score

Avoid these five common credit mistakes that could potentially bring down your credit score:

  • Having a credit utilization ratio of 30% or more.
  • Missing or making late payments.
  • Closing old credit accounts that have reported healthy activity to the credit bureaus.
  • Not taking the time to monitor both of your credit reports for inaccuracies.
  • Applying for too many credit products at one time.

What is – and isn’t – included in your credit file:

There are many details listed on your credit history, which help lenders determine how high or low risk of a borrower you are. However, you’ll be happy to know that not every detail of your life is there for show.

Find out what lenders can and can’t see when studying your credit file.

Included

  • Name, address and date of birth.
  • Social Insurance Number (SIN).
  • Employment information.
  • Past credit applications.
  • Credit repayment history, including late or missed payments.
  • Your existing debt.
  • Any joint credit cards or loans.
  • Bankruptcies or other court judgements against you related to credit.
  • Accounts turned over to collections agencies.
  • Current account turnover.

Not included

  • Information about race, colour or religion.
  • Criminal charges not resulting in a conviction.
  • Criminal charges older than seven years.
  • Missing or late rent payments.
  • Credit information older than six years (unless it’s a bankruptcy).
  • Health information.

What are letter ratings on a credit report?

Letter ratings are used to describe the type of credit borrowed.
Letter Meaning Description Example
I Installment loan Money borrowed for a specific period of time, where you make regular payments in fixed amounts until the loan is paid off. Car loan or personal loan
O Open credit You can borrow money when you need it, up to a certain amount. Line of credit
R Revolving or recurring credit You can borrow money when you need it, up to your credit limit, on a recurring basis. Your repayments will vary depending on how much you borrow. Credit card
M Mortgage loan Details of your mortgage may be included on your credit report. Repayments will vary depending on your mortgage type and interest rate type. Mortgage

View a sample Equifax credit report here

Found an error on your credit report? Here’s how to handle it.

  1. Contact your bank or the lender that has reported the incorrect information to the bureau.
  2. Contact the credit bureaus. You’ll need to check both your Equifax and TransUnion credit reports to make sure the error doesn’t appear on both.
  3. If you need further assistance, contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

Frequently asked questions

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