If you aren’t already in the habit, you may want to start checking your credit report once in a while. In much the same way that you visit the doctor regularly to make sure that your health is in good shape, checking your credit can help you to keep it in good shape too.
Credit report vs. credit score
Your credit report is different than your credit score. Your credit score is a number assigned to you based on a number of factors, including payment history, amount of debt that you have, length of credit history and type of credit that you have.
Your credit report, however, goes into far more in-depth, outlining the details of your credit history with each creditor (good and bad). If you’ve had late payments, they will be recorded here, or if you’ve had collections, credit counselling, debt settlements or bankruptcy, this will all be noted here as well.
Why you need to look
There are a couple of main reasons to check out your credit history; firstly it lets you see if you’ve got the room for improvement, which is very important if you are intending to apply for credit in the future (say for a mortgage or other large purchase). Your credit history (and by extension your credit score) will not only determine if you qualify but what kind of interest rate you get.
The other reason is that you can check to see if there are inaccuracies. If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, there may be errors on your report. You are better off to learn about those in advance and address them with the creditors and the police. Be proactive.
How to check
You can check your report through Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. It’s free if you request a report via regular mail, but there is a charge if you request one immediately online.