The main thing that every bank or company uses to determine whether or not you can borrow is your Credit Score. There are other names for the Credit Score, such as FICO Score or beacon score. They are essentially the same thing. However, there is more than 1 Credit Bureau they can get a score from. The main Bureau that everyone uses is Equifax. However, some also use TransUnion or Northern Credit. You can get a good handle on your credit score by using Equifax.
One of the first things you need to know about your credit score is that there are soft checks and hard checks on your credit. When you check your credit, it is a soft check and does not affect your score. However, when an institution or lender checks your credit, it is a hard check and negatively affects your score. So don’t go and just shop around for credit, allowing each potential lender to check your credit as that will bring your score down. Each time it is checked, it will go down so be cautious on who you authorize to check your credit!
To check your credit, you can simply go to www.equifax.ca and get your credit report. If they can’t verify you online, you may need to call and rectify. But once you have an account, you can get your credit any time for a small cost. You can also subscribe to different credit systems where they send you a regular report and notify you if anyone checks your credit. Although you can get a free credit report in the mail each year it doesn’t have a score, so doesn’t tell you all that you need!
One of the main reasons for checking your own credit, other than knowing where you’re at with your credit score, is to see if there are any errors on your credit. Many times people find things on their credit report which shouldn’t be there. Even though they may not be correct, they are still on your credit and could be negatively affecting your score! Errors can be fixed! Equifax has a form that you can submit and they provide instructions on their website as to what to do when you find errors on your credit report.
More on Credit Scores on the next post!