Understanding your credit report

Security alert

Oct 3, 2017, UPDATE – We have been advised that Equifax has had a security breach of its servers, potentially impacting 8,000 Canadians. At this time, we have not been informed of any Vancity members being affected by the breach. Any member with concerns about the breach should contact Equifax Canada at 1-866-828-5961 or the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

Have you seen your credit report lately? Your credit rating is like a financial report card. It can determine whether you receive a loan for a new car, or if you qualify for a lower interest rate on your mortgage.

87% of Canadians have no idea what’s in their credit report. If you're one of them, the following steps can help you learn about and protect your credit history.

Step 1: find out where you stand

Ideally, you should examine your credit report every two or three years to ensure it’s accurate. By some estimates, as many as 40% of credit reports contain inaccuracies. If yours is incorrect or outdated, it can affect your chances of getting credit when you need it most.

To obtain your credit report at no charge, contact the two credit reporting bureaus in Canada:
Equifax Canada Inc. at 1-800-465-7166. Or, for instant access (for a $15.50 fee), visit the Equifax Canada website.
TransUnion Canada Inc. at 1-800-663-9980 or by visiting the TransUnion Canada website.

Step 2: clean up your credit information

If you see an error in your credit report, ask the credit reporting bureau to correct it. For example, if your credit report shows past-due accounts that are paid up, simply provide written proofs of payment and ask the credit bureau to correct the disputed items. Then, request a copy of the amended report in 30 days. Also ask the credit bureau to send your revised credit report to any company that requested information 60 days before the change.

Step 3: rebuild your credit

If your credit report shows past-due accounts, negotiate with creditors for a reduced payment schedule. Or arrange a loan that consolidates your debts, leaving you with one affordable monthly payment.