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How to Get a Credit Report in Canada

Jessica Martel

Aug 09, 2023 6 min read

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How to download equifax credit report

Building a strong credit history is important for your financial health. Your credit report is a snapshot of your credit history. Lenders look at your credit report to decide if they want to lend to you, and at what interest rate.

You can access your Equifax credit report for free through Borrowell. Equifax is the largest consumer credit bureau in Canada. There are other apps that allow you to access your TransUnion credit report.

A limited or poor credit history can make it harder and more expensive to get new credit. A good credit history can help you borrow money at a lower interest rate and save money over time.

Reviewing your credit report regularly can help you understand what lenders are seeing and if there are opportunities to improve your credit. It can also indicate potential errors or signs of identity theft.

What is a Credit Report?

Your credit report is a summary of your credit history. Your report is created when you open your first credit account. Each time you open a new credit card or take on a mortgage or personal loan, lenders refer to your credit report to review your payment history and determine how risky it is to lend you money. 

There are two main credit bureaus in Canada: Equifax and TransUnion. The credit bureaus are responsible for compiling the information on your credit reports and sharing it with banks and other lenders to help them decide if they want to loan you money. 

How to print equifax credit report

What Information is Included in a Canadian Credit Report?

There are four categories of information typically found on your credit report: 

1. Personal information

Your personal information is not used to calculate your credit score but will show up on the top of your credit report.  

  • Name

  • Address (current and previous)

  • Date of birth 

  • Social insurance number

  • Phone number

  • Employer (current and previous) 

2. Credit history 

Your credit history is a list of accounts known as tradelines. Each tradeline includes the following information:  

  • Types of accounts (credit card, mortgage, auto loan)

  • The date you opened the account

  • Credit limit or loan amount

  • Account balance

  • Payment history 

3. Inquiries

This section Includes details on the lenders who have requested a copy of your credit report, both soft and hard inquiries.

  • Soft inquiries.

    When you view your own credit report (like through Borrowell), this is known as a soft inquiry. Soft inquiries don’t impact your credit score and are only visible on your copy of your credit report. They are not visible to lenders. 

  • Hard inquiries.

    Are visible to anyone that requests a hard pull of your credit report. Hard inquiries can impact your credit score and remain on your credit report for up to six years.1  

4. Public records

Public records include items that can affect your creditworthiness, such as:

  • Bankruptcy

  • Court decisions

  • Debt sent to collections 

How Do I Get a Credit Report?

You can get your Equifax credit report and credit score for free through Borrowell. Equifax is the largest consumer credit bureau in Canada. With Borrowell, your credit score is updated weekly and you can check it as much as you want without affecting your score.

For a copy of your TransUnion credit report, you can sign up for Credit Karma. Some Canadian banks also provide free credit report access to customers. 

Get your Credit Report for Free

Sign up for Borrowell to get your free credit score and full credit report, updated weekly.

Sign Up for Borrowell

When You Might Need Your Credit Report

There are several situations when a lender might request a copy of your credit report.

  • Applying for credit products.

    Any time you apply for a new credit card, a car loan, or a mortgage, the lender will request a hard inquiry. This is a standard part of the loan application process. Lenders use the information on your credit report to assess your history and decide if they want to approve or reject your application. 

  • Applying to rent an apartment. A landlord might also check your credit score when you’re applying for an apartment. Reviewing your credit score and credit history helps them determine if you are likely to pay your bills on time. 

  • Applying for a job. Some employers, typically those in the financial sector or government, might want to review your credit history to assess your financial management skills. They may want to avoid hiring someone who could potentially make bad financial decisions on behalf of the company. When employers check your credit report, they usually see a modified version that doesn’t include your credit score or soft inquiries. 

Why You Should Check Your Credit Report Regularly

Regular review of your credit report can help you gain a better understanding of what lenders see when you apply for credit. It can also help you to: 

  • To improve your credit score. If you want to apply for a mortgage or car loan, checking your credit report might indicate that you need to take steps to improve your credit score. Taking time to boost your credit score can help you increase your chances of getting approved, and potentially at a lower rate. 

  • To identify and address errors. Reviewing your credit report regularly can help you quickly identify errors and take the steps necessary to address them. This can include errors in your personal information or reporting errors. For instance, a lender might mistakenly report a late payment which could negatively impact your credit score. By reviewing your report, you can dispute the mistake and hopefully have it corrected. 

  • Prevent identity theft. If someone else is using your personal information to apply for new credit or make purchases with your credit card, reviewing your credit report can help you detect the issue before the problem escalates.  

how to get credit report free

Alternative Methods to Obtain Your Credit Report

If you prefer an alternative method to request your credit report, you can access your credit report directly from Equifax and TransUnion for free by mail or over the phone. 

Get your credit report by mail

You can order your credit report by mail using the forms provided by each credit reporting agency. You will need to provide two pieces of identification, such as your passport or driver's license. 

Get your credit report by phone

Alternatively, you can request your credit report free of charge from Equifax by calling 1-800-465-7166. 

You will have to confirm your identity by answering a series of personal and financial questions. Have your social insurance number and credit card number on hand, as you may need to provide them as part of the confirmation process. 

The Bottom Line

Your credit report provides a snapshot of your credit history. Lenders, landlords, and potential employers may use your credit report to make important decisions, such as whether or not to extend you a loan, an apartment, or a job. 

Reviewing your credit report can also help you to understand what lenders are seeing and help you to identify opportunities for improvement. If there are any errors or fraudulent activity, reviewing your credit report can assist you in identifying and fixing these issues as soon as possible.

Jessica Martel
Jessica Martel

Jessica Martel is a freelance writer and professional researcher. She specializes in personal finance and financial literacy. Her work has appeared on websites such as Investopedia, The Balance, Money Under 30, Scotiabank, Seeking Alpha, and more. Jessica has a Master of Science degree in Cognitive Research Psychology.

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