3.

Your Credit Score

A credit report is a detailed history of how you have paid your bills (ie. rent, loans, utilities, credit cards, etc).  It will also capture information from other agencies (ie. the municipality, courts, Canada Revenue Agency, etc.)  The report is used to calculate your score (typically between 300 and 900) - a scored over 680+ is considered excellent.  It is your credit score that lenders use to predict the likelihood you will pay back what you owe and make your payments on time.

The two main credit reporting agencies in Canada are Equifax and TransUnion.  

Your credit report is a living document and can change over time - which is good news if you have bad credit, because you have the opportunity to repair damaged credit and increase your score.

TIPS FOR MAINTAINING & IMPROVING YOUR SCORE

  • Order a free copy of your report annually from Equifax and TransUnion and review it for errors

  • Pay your bills on time

  • Leave old debts on the report - you can't improve a score you don't have.  The longer your history of using credit responsibly, the better - an old debt paid as agreed, could boost your overall score.

  • Use your accounts, but keep your balances low in relation to your credit limits

  • Consider paying down your credit card twice monthly. You might think you’re doing great because you pay off your card every month, even if it’s maxed out. The problem is that your creditors are only reporting balances to the credit bureaus once a month. If you run up a big balance each month, it could look like you’re overusing your credit.

  • Follow important tips and advice for Preventing Identify Theft

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