Understanding your credit history

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What is a credit history?

  1. A record showing a person’s ability to pay debts.
  2. It shows your:
    • credit accounts
    • bill payment details
    • borrowing habits
  3. It is composed of a credit report and a credit score.
  4. The credit report contains information on your:
    • bank accounts
    • credit cards
    • lines of credit and loans
  5. It will also show:
    • records of bankruptcy or a court decision relating to credit
    • issuance of a “bad” check
    • a list of people and companies that have asked about your credit
  6. Your credit score shows how much credit risk you represent.
    • They range from 300 to 900.
    • The higher the score, the better.
    • A high score means less risk.
  7. When you are given a credit rating, it shows:
    • the score
    • how you compare to the rest of Canada
    • your rating of creditworthiness: very poor, poor, fair, good, or very good
  8. Equifax and TransUnion are the credit bureaus in Canada.

Why is a good credit history important?

  1. Institutions will check it when:
    • you buy a house
    • you buy a car
    • starting a business
  2. It can also be checked when you are applying:
    • to rent a house
    • for a job
  3. Your credit history will show:
    • if someone has tried to steal your identity
    • if someone opened credit cards or loans in your name

Factors that affect your credit score:

  1. How long you have had credit.
  2. History of making payments:
    • Do you carry a balance on your credit cards?
    • Have you missed payments?
  3. Outstanding debts.
    • Are you close to your credit limit?
  4. Number of inquiries about your credit history
    • This shows if you are trying to get more credit.
  5. Types of credit you are using.
  6. Any record of bankruptcy or debts sent to a collection agency.

How to get a credit report

  1. A free credit report once a year is good to:</li
    • monitor your credit
    • check for errors
    • check for signs of identity theft
  2. A free credit report does not include your credit score.
  3. A credit score report can be ordered for a fee.
  4. Ask for a credit file disclosure from Equifax Canada or a consumer disclosure from TransUnion Canada.
    • Get it by mail, fax, telephone or in person.
  5. There is a fee if you want to get it online.
  6. Check the FCAC page for contact numbers.

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Community Resources

Download a guide at the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada site.

Contact the Community Financial Counselling Services for financial/credit counselling services.

Go to the Financial Literacy Resource website for a list of financial literacy programs and services in Manitoba.

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