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 couple ways you can check your credit report for free. The first two options listed below are free and the third 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.
Your free credit report will be sent to you in the mail but will not contain your credit score. You have to pay to find out your credit score, or you can ask your banker 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. 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.
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Option 1: Get Instant Access to Your Free Credit Report by Phone
The 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 2: 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. There is also a fax number on the Equifax request form, so you can fax your request to Equifax if you wish to speed up the process. Instructions for mailing in TransUnion’s form can be found on their website by clicking here. The Equifax form contains its own instructions for mailing it in.
For both options 1 and 2 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 3: 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
Both websites charge a fee for instant access to your credit report plus they charge more if you want to see your 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.
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.
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: