Credit report

Your credit report contains information about your financial situation. It is used to confirm your identity, find out about your past and current debts and determine whether you’re a good credit risk.

Since February 1, 2021, the Autorité des marchés financiers has been administering the Credit Assessment Agents Act This link will open in a new window. The term “credit agencies” used on this page refers to the credit assessment agents governed by this Act.

What’s on your credit report?

Your credit report includes:

  • Your name, address, date of birth and social insurance number
  • Information about what you’ve borrowed (credit cards; lines of credits; mortgages and other loans) and how consistently you pay off you bills and debts
  • Information about your bank accounts and any bounced cheques you may have written
  • Information about any unpaid accounts
  • Public information about you (e.g., bankruptcy or judgment against you)
  • The names of any individuals or organizations that have requested to see your credit report
  • Your credit rating

Lenders take the information in your credit report into account when determining:

  • whether they can lend you money
  • how much they can lend you
  • what interest rate they can charge you

What’s a credit rating?

Your credit rating, also called a credit score, is a number between 300 and 900. It is a calculated from a mathematical formula using the information on your credit report. The higher the number, the better the rating.

There is no one single credit rating for a credit report. Credit agencies send financial institutions and other businesses several credit ratings for a given credit report. There may be slight differences between them, but they are all generally around the same value.

What is reflected on your credit report?

Your credit report is constructed from information provided by the businesses you obtain certain services from, such as:

  • Your financial institution
  • Your cell, cable or internet service provider
  • Your credit card provider

This information is compiled, updated and made available in Québec by two credit agencies: Equifax This link will open in a new window and Trans Union This link will open in a new window.

With some exceptions, businesses need your consent to send information to Equifax and Trans Union. In many cases, this consent is included in the contract you sign with the business.Source: Commission d’accès à l’informationThis link will open in a new window

Who can see your credit report?

Individuals or businesses that may ask for your credit report before doing business with you include:

  • A financial institution when you apply for a loan
  • A lessor you want to rent from
  • An insurance company you want to purchase insurance from
  • A potential employer as part of the hiring process

Individuals and businesses need your consent to view your credit report, The consent is valid for a limited time, lasting only as long as it takes for the requested service to be performed.

You can view your own credit report by simply making a request.

How can you help improve your credit report or credit rating?

It’s hard to predict exactly how a credit rating will change. Lenders and credit agencies don’t share their calculation methods with the public.

You can help improve or maintain the quality of your credit report or credit rating by adopting the following habits:

  • Paying the balance owing on time and in full
  • Trying to keep the credit you use at below 35% of the total available to you
  • Limiting the number of times you apply for credit
  • Paying off what you owe as quickly as possible
  • Keep your old paid-up accounts open

Check your credit report once a year or each time there’s suspicious situation. For example:

  • You receive an account statement in your name for a service you didn’t ask for
  • You’re contacted by a collection agency about a debt you don’t know about
  • When trying to get credit, you’re told there are debts or credit that you’ve never applied for

By checking your report, you will see if it contains errors or if someone other than yourself has tried to obtain credit in your name.


Beware of firms offering financial recovery services

These firms offer services to people who are in debt. They may also refer to themselves as “refinance brokers,” “credit counsellors” or “credit repairers”. Their fees can be high and the solutions they offer are limited.

Instead, see our list of professionals, businesses and organizations that can help you reduce your debt and review your budget.

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Viewing or making changes to your credit report

You can ask to see your credit report and your credit rating at any time. You also have the right to:

  • request a correction to your credit report
  • give your version of the facts (explanatory statement)
  • alert the people consulting your credit report to a situation concerning you (security alert)

Viewing your credit report

To view your credit report

Make a request to the two credit agencies operating in Québec, Equifax This link will open in a new window and Trans Union This link will open in a new window.

No fee will be charged, whether you get your report by mail or view it on-line. You may be charged a reasonable fee if you would like to receive your report by mail.

Finding out your credit rating

Go to the Equifax This link will open in a new window and Trans Union This link will open in a new window websites and follow the indicated procedure for getting free access to your credit rating.

Correcting information on your credit report

If you see an error on your credit report, such as a late payment that was settled some time back, you can submit a written request (by mail or on-line) to Equifax This link will open in a new window or Trans Union This link will open in a new window to have it corrected. Follow the procedure indicated on their website. Equifax and Trans Union are required to reply within 30 days.  If you don’t get a reply within 30 days or your request is denied, you can contact the Commission d’accès à l’information This link will open in a new window.

If the information involved still appears unchanged on your report after it has been verified by Equifax or Trans Union, you can also have your version of the facts added to the report.

Giving your version of the facts (explanatory statement)

If you disagree with an item on your credit report, you have the right to have an explanatory statement added to the report at no charge. The explanatory statement must not be defamatory.

The explanatory statement gives your version of the facts. It stays on your report until there is either:

  • An agreement between the parties involved or
  • A decision or judgment settling the disagreement

Any business or merchant that looks at your credit report will be able to read the explanatory statement.

Activating a security alert on your credit report

You think someone has stolen personal information about you? You can activate a security alert on your credit report. Users of your credit report will then have to carry out additional checks to make sure they are dealing with you and not someone else.

To activate this alert, contact the credit agencies Equifax and Trans Union. There is no cost to you. For the alert to take effect, you will be required to provide a phone number where you can be reached.


What is the difference between a security alert and a credit monitoring service?

A security alert is free. When there’s a credit alert on your report, anyone who receives your report is required to make sure they are dealing with you and not someone else. It helps to prevent your identity from being used without your authorization—to take out a loan, for example.

The credit monitoring service offered by Equifax and Trans Union is available for a fee. It alerts you by e-mail when there’s been a change affecting your credit file—for example, that a change has been made to your credit rating or that a new credit account has been opened in your name. This service does not include the security alert.

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Security freeze

A security freeze is a measure you can take to prevent the fraudulent use of your personal information. It temporarily blocks the credit bureaus (Equifax and TransUnion) from releasing your information held by them to companies or individuals wishing to view your credit report.

If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft, you can request a security freeze by contacting either Equifax or TransUnion (although it may be worthwhile to contact BOTH credit bureaus as an extra precaution). The credit bureau will explain what a security freeze is, how to place a security freeze on your file and what to do to subsequently request its removal.

A security freeze will remain on your credit file until you request that the credit bureau remove it. Using a security freeze for something other than its intended purpose or leaving it on your file for an extended period of time could prove detrimental if, for example, you apply for a loan.

Need help?

Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF)

The AMF administers the Credit Assessment Agents Act. It oversees the commercial and management practices of the credit assessment agents Equifax and Trans Union.

It can explain what your rights are and assist you with:

  • Access to your credit report and credit rating via the Internet
  • Your right to enter an explanatory statement on your credit report
  • Your right to activate a security alert on your credit report
  • Your right to file a complaint against Equifax or Trans Union.

For more information about your rights and remedies when dealing with credit assessment agents, contact the AMF Information Centre

Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec

It is responsible for administering the Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector. It ensures that private companies, such as Equifax and Trans Union, meet their obligations under that Act.

Contact the Commission d’accès à l’information This link will open in a new window