How to Get Your Free Credit Report & Check Your Credit Score
3 Ways to Get Your Credit Report in Canada
In Canada, there are a number of ways you can check your credit report for free. The first options listed below are free but the last one option costs money. You can obtain a free credit report from each of the two credit reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion, once a year for no charge.
Historically, if you wanted your free credit report it was sent to you in the mail and did not contain your credit score. The credit reporting agencies required you to pay to find out your credit score. However, things are changing. Both companies now allow you to try and obtain your credit report for free online, and Equifax is currently allowing people to see their credit score for free. The online method doesn't work for everyone, though, and for this reason, we have many more methods listed below. We should also mention, that you can also ask your banker for your credit score when you apply for credit or when you open a new bank account. You can also use a free credit score estimator calculator to get a rough idea of your score. We recommend that you get a copy of your credit report from both Equifax and TransUnion as the information on each report may be different.
Option 1: Get Instant Online Access to Your Credit Report and Score
Both Equifax and TransUnion are now providing online access to your credit report for free. Equifax is also including a credit score as part of this free package. We're not sure how long this offer will last, but it's worth taking advantage of if you're looking for either your credit report or your score. Here is where you can access Equifax's free online credit score and report and TransUnion's free online credit report. If either of these options don't work for you, don't worry. It doesn't mean you've done anything wrong, it just means that you'll have to try one of the other methods listed below. It's possible that for some reason the information you entered doesn't perfectly match the credit reporting agency's records.
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Option 2: Get Instant Access to Your Free Credit Report by Phone
The second fastest way to obtain a free copy of your credit report is to call each of the credit reporting agencies’ toll free numbers. If you call these numbers, a computer will ask you some questions about your personal information so that it can verify your identity. Then the automated system will mail you a copy of your credit report. It can take up to 3 weeks for your credit report to arrive by mail. You can obtain your free credit report by calling the numbers below:
- Equifax - 1-800-465-7166 (Automated Telephone Service)
- TransUnion - 1-800-663-9980 (Automated Telephone Service)
What to do When Your Credit Report Request is Rejected
If you make a mistake while using the automated telephone service or if the information you enter does not precisely match the credit agency’s records, the automated service will reject your request, and it won’t send you a copy of your credit report. If this happens to you, don’t panic and assume that there’s a problem with your credit bureau. Instead, try the next option to verify what may have gone wrong.
Option 3: Request Your Free Credit Report By Filling Out a Form
Quick Links to Equifax and TransUnion Credit report forms
You can also request a free copy of your credit report from Equifax and TransUnion by filling out an Equifax form and/or a TransUnion form. You can then mail the completed forms to Equifax and TransUnion and they will mail you a free credit report.
For all the options listed above, when your credit report arrives by mail, certain personal and identifying details will be blocked out. If this is your own report, there is enough information there for you to know what’s going on. If someone should get your report in error, or take it out of the mail, there isn’t enough information there for them to harm your identity.
Option 4: Pay To Get an Instant Copy of Your Credit Report
Should you pay to get a copy of your credit report or not - your credit might be good already
If you don’t want to wait for your credit report to arrive by mail, you can pay to obtain an instant copy of your credit report by visiting either Equifax or TransUnion.
Both websites charge a fee for instant access to your credit report and credit score. If you have had good credit for a number of years, always pay your bills on time, use less than 75% of your credit limits and you haven’t applied for a lot of credit recently, then you don’t need to waste money to find out your credit score; it will be good. If you suspect that your credit isn’t as good as it should be and you are planning to apply for credit, then you might want to pay to find out your credit score. If you would like to get some tips to improve your credit score, talk to your banker, or click here to find out how to get a good credit score.
If you have a problem trying to access your credit report online, you can try calling the credit reporting agencies or sending in a form (see Options 2 & 3).
Understanding Your Credit Report and Correcting Mistakes
Once you receive a copy of your credit report, it will contain explanations to help you understand the details of your credit report. It should also let you know how to correct mistakes or dispute information that you think is incorrect. The Government of Canada has also published a guide called Understanding Your Credit Report and Credit Score to help Canadians understand how the credit reporting system works in Canada. It contains all sorts of helpful info including how long information stays on your credit report.
How to Find Out Your Credit Score in Canada - For Free or Through Equifax & TransUnion
As was previously mentioned, you can pay Equifax or TransUnion to get your credit score (rating). However, if you don't want to pay and you only want a rough idea of what your credit score might be, you can try out this credit score estimator calculator to get a free credit score. This calculator also comments on your credit score and tells you how good it is. You can then play with the calculator to come up with some ideas of how you may be able to improve your score, or you can learn more by clicking here to find out how your credit score is calculated.
To get more information about how to check your credit report and build your credit rating for a higher score, check out these articles:
12 Tips to Use a Credit Card But Not End Up in Debt
3 Ways People Destroy Their Credit
How to Improve Your Credit Score While Staying Out of Debt
How is Your Credit Score Calculated in Canada?
Fastest Ways to Fix Your Credit Score in Canada for Free