Kate Smalley • Feb 26, 2020
Keeping track of your credit score and how it fluctuates over time is an important part of managing and improving your financial health. Having good credit gives you access to better interest rates when you apply for a loan, like a mortgage or credit card, and being able to proactively improve your credit is empowering. It gives you more options and helps you make better choices.
Your credit score and what impacts it can be confusing, and until a few years ago you could only obtain your score directly from a credit bureau (often with a cost). Now, Canadians can easily access their credit score and report for free through three companies: Borrowell, Mogo, and Credit Karma.
While all three companies update your credit score for free each month, each offers additional features and products to help you become a more informed and responsible consumer of credit.
Founded in 2014 and based in Toronto, Borrowell was the first company to provide Canadians free access to their credit scores. Now one of Canada’s largest financial technology companies serving over 1 million members, Borrowell has been recognized internationally in the Fintech 100, a list of the top 100 fintech companies globally. Borrowell offers loans, credit cards, mortgages, insurance, investing, and banking products on its financial marketplace, with products from over 50 financial partners.
Borrowell has an app that’s available on both Android and iOS. The app and web versions are synced so you’ll always see the most up-to-date information regardless of where you’re accessing your profile.
Borrowell gives members free access to their Equifax credit score and report. Scores are updated each month and checking your score won’t impact it. You can track your progress and credit health through your credit dashboard.
Borrowell offers personal loans to help with debt consolidation, paying off credit cards, home improvement projects, car purchases, business costs, and other major purchases. The entire application is completed online and you’ll get the money within 48 hours of signing the loan agreement.
Borrowell partners with lenders across Canada to offer competitive rates based on your credit score and history. You can borrow up to $35,000 with a fixed rate from 5.6% to 29.19%. Loans are offered in 3 or 5-year terms and there are no loan pre-payment fees if you pay off the balance earlier.
Canada’s first AI-powered Credit Coach, Molly, will give you personalized tips and credit education. When members log in to their account they’ll see an overview of their credit history including credit utilization and any late payments, which are factors that affect your credit score. Based on your credit history, Molly will share tips on how you can improve your score so that you can strengthen your credit over time.
Molly will also let you know how your credit score compares to the rest of Canada, so you’ll have a benchmark for how you’re doing.
Borrowell uses AI to recommend products that are the best fit for you given your credit profile. By being a member you’ll be able to compare rates and features within the app and take advantage of some of the most competitive offers in Canada. Borrowell’s financial marketplace gives you access to the best products for you from over 50 partners including credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, bank accounts, insurance for home, auto and other needs, and investment products such as GICs and automated investment platforms.
Borrowell Boost is Canada’s tool that can help you get ahead of your bills. Available exclusively on the Borrowell app, Boost securely links to an existing bank account, and lets subscribers see expected bills and balances to help manage cash flow.
This helps avoid non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees which can be up to $50 per transaction (Government of Canada). Since payment history determines 35% of an Equifax credit score, this feature can help protect your credit score during months when cash flow is irregular. The feature also sends reminders and alerts when bills are coming due to help avoid late payments and the ability to advance $75 interest-free.
If you use a product that Borrowell recommends they are paid a small referral fee from that financial service provider.
Founded in 2003, Mogo is a Vancouver-based fintech company. In addition to free access to your credit score, Mogo offers personal loans, identity fraud protection, mortgages, a prepaid Visa debit card, and a bitcoin exchange. Mogo is a publicly-traded company that’s listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.
Mogo has an app that’s available on both Andoird and iOS.
Mogo gives members free access to their Equifax credit score and report. Similar to Borrowell, scores are updated each month and checking your score doesn’t impact it.
MogoProtect is a paid service that monitors your Equifax credit bureau account daily and alerts you whenever a potential threat or fraud attempt is detected. MogoProtect is $8.99 a month, compared to traditional credit alert providers that charge up to $20 a month.
Whether or not you subscribe to a credit monitoring service, it’s recommended that you regularly look through your credit report to ensure there’s no transactions or sources of credit you don’t recognize. Here's what to do if you think you've been affected by fraud.
Mogo offers a range of instalment loans called MogoLiquid and MogoMini. Mogo won’t deny members a loan based on credit score so those with poor credit may still qualify. However, users need to be wary of potentially high-interest rates. MogoLiquid offers loans between $5,000 and $35,000 for up to a 5-year term at rates from 5.9% to 46.96%. MogoMini loans are between $1,000 and $3,500 and the rate is 47.71% AIR. All loans can be paid off at any time with no penalty.
MogoMortgage lets you quickly apply for a mortgage online and keep track of your mortgage on their digital dashboard. The MogoMortgage team is available to support you through the process and they offer competitive rates from the lenders they’re partnered with.
Currently, MogoMortgage only offers high-ratio mortgages to those who are making a down payment of less than 20% of their home’s value. They have fixed-rate and variable mortgages with terms between 1-10 years.
Coming later this year, MogoCard is a Visa Platinum Prepaid Card that can be loaded with up to $10,000. It allows users to earn 1.5% unlimited cash-back on all domestic purchases and 3% unlimited cash-back on purchases made in a foreign currency. In addition, for every dollar you spend on your MogoCard Mogo will offset one pound of CO2 emissions on your behalf.
You’ll be able to monitor your spending, automate your budget, and set spending goals within the app. Watch out for ATM fees ($1.50 for domestic and $3.00 for international) and the foreign currency transaction fee (2.5%) which can add up depending on your usage.
MogoCrypto lets you buy and sell bitcoin through your Mogo account. Mogo charges you a 1% fee when you buy or sell bitcoin. Funding your account takes as little as 30 minutes and withdraws can take up to a few days, which is faster than other bitcoin exchanges in Canada.
If you’re investing in cryptocurrencies, remember to exercise caution as they are highly volatile and speculative.
Mogo makes money through interest and fees charged on their products.
Credit Karma is an American company that expanded to Canada in 2016. Credit Karma offers free credit scores, credit reports, and credit monitoring to residents of Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia, New Brunswick, PEI, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Credit Karma provides additional services, such as tax filing and credit card recommendations, to U.S. residents.
Credit Karma gives members free access to their TransUnion credit score and report as well as free credit monitoring.
They are the only of the three companies to offer free scores and reports from TransUnion. Borrowell and Mogo both provide scores from Equifax.
Credit Karma is partnered with LoanConnect, a Canada-based search engine, to connect users with a variety of loan options including small short-term loans, long-term instalment loans, and open-ended lines of credit. LoanConnect is separate from Credit Karma so you won’t be able to track applications or offers through your Credit Karma account.
Similar to Borrowell, Credit Karma makes money through referral fees that are paid out if you use a product that they recommend.
Regardless of how you choose to monitor your credit or access a loan, do the research required to make an educated decision. Any products you use should support your long-term goals, not hinder your financial health.
Borrowell® is a registered trademark of Borrowell Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Equifax credit score is based on Equifax’s proprietary model and may not be the same score used by third parties to determine your credit profile. The score provided to you for educational use is the Equifax Risk Score.
2014-2020 Borrowell® | The Credit Is All Yours!