1. Use a free online service
You can receive free credit scores from online providers like Borrowell within minutes — and get access to free credit monitoring, too.
These online services provide immediate access to a credit score from at least one of the two major credit bureaus — TransUnion and Equifax — giving you an accurate picture of your credit status. Just be wary of any provider that asks for your credit card information.
Remember, looking into your credit score does not count as a hard inquiry into your credit and is not one of the factors that will affect your score.
2. Check your bank's website or app
If you bank with Scotiabank, RBC or CIBC, you're in luck.
CIBC allows its customers to check their credit score free of charge using its mobile app, but it's important to know 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 banking portals online 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, Scotia is worth taking a look at right now. It's offering a $300 welcome gift for a couple of 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 personal loans will also net you access to a credit score. If you apply for a loan and your 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 also allows you to request a free online credit report once per month. Remember, 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
It's important to have access to your credit score and your credit history so you can ensure you get the best deal from lenders.
Monitoring your credit situation lets you know when you're off track — or if a company has made a mistake on your report. Then you can start fixing your credit score fast.
Since lenders rely on credit scores to decide whether to do business with you, keeping tabs on your score will give you a good idea of your chances of getting a new credit card or loan application approved, and with a decent interest rate.
If you don't know your current credit score, make sure to get your free credit score from Borrowell today.