What is a credit report?
A credit report is a record of your credit activities. It lists any credit-card accounts or loans you may have, the balances, and how regularly you make your payments.
What’s in a credit report?*
Below is a list of the major sections found in your credit report:
- Personal Identification
- Consumer Statement
- Credit Information
- Banking Information
- Public Record Information
- Third-Party Collections
- Mortgage information
Other frequently asked questions about credit reports
1. How is information in my credit report used?
Credit information is gathered by credit reporting agencies, sometimes called credit bureaus. There are two major credit reporting agencies in Canada: Equifax Canada Inc., and TransUnion of Canada. Governed by provincial and federal laws, credit reporting agencies store and maintain credit information about individual Canadian consumers for use by members of the credit reporting agency. Members include banks, finance companies, auto leasing companies, credit card companies and retailers.
Credit grantors update individual credit reports regularly by providing information to credit reporting agencies about their customers’ credit and payment activities. This ensures that credit reports remain up-to-date and as complete as possible. Other sources of the information contained in your credit report can include public records from courthouses across the country and collection agencies.
2. Who can access my credit report?
Federal and provincial laws are very specific regarding who can review your credit report and for what purpose. A company or individual may only obtain a copy of your credit report with your consent or after informing you that they will be reviewing your report. Additionally, an individual or company must have a legitimate business reason and a permissible purpose, as stated in government regulations, to obtain your credit report.
When you apply for a loan or credit card you are usually asked to complete and sign an application form. An application normally includes written consent giving permission to the credit grantor to check your credit report when you first apply and throughout the life of the account. In addition to your name, an application often asks for your date of birth, your current address and a previous address if you’ve recently moved – information that helps to locate your credit report at a credit reporting agency.
Each time a member of the credit reporting agency requests your report, the request is noted on your report as an inquiry and kept for 3 years. You can therefore see a record of who has requested your credit report and when.
A credit reporting agency may only provide a copy of your report when the request relates to the extension of credit, collection of a debt, housing rental or an application for employment or insurance purposes. Since your credit report contains only factual information, it is important to remember that each of the companies requesting your credit report will interpret those facts in its own way to arrive at a decision. *This information has been acquired from the Equifax Canada website