I always preface a discussion around the credit reporting system by stating how frustrating the system can be. In some ways it is very black and white, yet in others very grey.
The first frustrating part is that there are two main credit reporting agencies in Canada – Equifax and TransUnion. One would think that they would have mirror files. They do not. Some lenders use one service while others use both. So to begin, may I suggest you check both reports for accuracy.
So here are some of things you should know about your report and the reporting industry in general:
- you are entitled to your report. It is your information. And it is free
- you can access it either in person, by telephone, online (by printing and completing a form), and can fax, email or mail in your request.
- you can also pay a fee for your report. At this point you are probably asking, “Why would I pay a fee if I can get it for free?”. The answer is, you get a bit more when you pay a fee. The report looks prettier and you get, most importantly your credit score (will blog on this a little later)
- you should check your report at least six months prior to applying for, or renewing, your credit. This allows you enough time to correct any errors or misrepresentations
- Should something be mis-reported, your first point of contact should be the party (lender) who reports. It is up to them to send the correct information to the credit bureaus.
These are just some preliminary tips on checking your credit report. If you have a specific question, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will respond either personally or via this blog (anonymously of course)