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Understanding Credit Scores


A credit report is a snapshot of your financial history and is one of the primary tools that credit granters, like credit unions, use to decide whether to grant you credit. The information contained in a credit report includes identifying information (name, address, social insurance number, date of birth, etc.), credit history, public records, and the list of inquiries from credit granters that have received your credit information.

To access credit information, individuals and businesses use consumer reporting agencies or credit bureaus who manage credit reports and updates. In Canada, there are two credit bureaus: TransUnion and Equifax. Positive credit information may remain on your credit report for up to twenty years, whereas adverse credit information is removed from your credit report six years from the date the account first went delinquent. Public records, such as judgments and bankruptcies may stay on your report for six to ten years depending on your province.

To provide lenders with a quick, objective and impartial snapshot of a credit file and help them decide whether or not to extend credit, a three digit credit score is generated based on the information in your credit report. A higher score indicates that the individual is a lower credit risk. Establishing a good credit score takes time. To improve your score, make sure you always pay your bills on time, check your credit score annually to ensure the information is accurate, and watch your debt.

It is recommended that you keep your outstanding account balances below 35% of your available credit.



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