How to get a free credit report and credit score in Canada
1. Use an online service
You can get a free credit score from a service like Borrowell within minutes — and you'll receive free credit monitoring, too.
These online services provide immediate access to your credit score from at least one of the two major credit bureaus — TransUnion and Equifax Canada — giving you an accurate picture of your credit status. Just be wary of any provider that asks for your credit card information.
Looking into your credit score doesn't count as a hard inquiry into your credit and is not one of the factors that will affect your score.
However, you will need to provide some personal information, and in some cases you may need to input your social insurance number. But once you've signed up, you'll be able to check your credit score any time, free of charge.
2. Check with your bank
If you bank with Scotiabank, RBC or CIBC, you're in luck.
CIBC allows its customers to check their credit score for free using its mobile app, but you'll only get a fresh look at your score every three months.
Meanwhile, you can get a credit score and report for free through the Scotiabank or RBC online portals, or on their respective apps. Both update your credit information once per month, giving you a more accurate picture.
If you're thinking about switching banks, Scotiabank is a solid option right now — it's offering a $300 welcome gift for several different account types.
3. Get one when taking out a loan
If you're one of the many Canadians rushing to apply for a mortgage as rates fall towards all-time lows, you'll receive your credit score as part of the application process.
Applying for a personal loan will also give you access to your credit score.
If your loan application is denied, the lender is required by law to show you your credit score. They'll also let you know which of the major credit bureaus provided your credit report.
If you're not satisfied with the result, you can get a copy of your credit report at no extra charge.
You can also get a credit report for free from either credit bureau; you just have to request the report by mail. Unlike Equifax, TransUnion allows you to request a free online credit report once per month.
Just be aware that your credit report won't include your credit score, even though it's used to calculate the number.
Why you need to know your credit score
Keeping an eye on your credit score and your credit history will help ensure you get the best deal from lenders in the future.
Monitoring your credit situation lets you know when you're off track — or if there's a mistake on your report. The sooner you're aware of a problem, the faster you'll be able to correct it.
Since lenders rely on credit scores to decide whether to do business with you, maintaining a good score will increase your chances of getting approved for a new credit card or a loan at a decent interest rate.
If you don't know your current credit score, take two minutes and check it for free with Borrowell today.