You start building a credit history the first time you take out a loan or a credit card. Your credit file contains information on loans and credit transactions you've made, whether you pay your bills on time and how much you owe. Banks, credit unions, credit card companies and other people who lend money use this information to decide if they will give you a loan or another credit card. Credit reports may also be used by:
- landlords when you rent an apartment
- employers when you are looking for a job
- insurance companies when you apply for car or home insurance
You should know your credit history. If you have a bad credit history, a credit report can help you understand it and start building a good credit rating. You can get a copy of your credit file by contacting either of the two national credit bureaus in Canada:
- Equifax Canada: 1-800-465-7166 or www.equifax.ca
- TransUnion Canada: 1-866-525-0262 or www.transunion.ca
If you make your request in writing and send it by mail, these agencies will provide you, by mail, with a free copy of your report. You'll need to include a photocopy of two pieces of identification. Contact the agencies directly or visit their websites for more information.
You can also order a copy of your credit report online. It's quicker than ordering by mail, but there is a fee (currently around $15) for that service. Visit the Equifax Canada or the TransUnion Canada websites for more information.