Your credit report provides a snapshot of your financial habits. A poor credit report (late, partial or missed payments) could be a major stumbling block when you apply for any kind of loan (e.g., a car loan), a line of credit or a credit card.

It could also make it more difficult to rent an apartment or get a job. It’s therefore a good idea to get a copy and find out what’s on it.

Your credit report can be obtained free of charge or for a fee from one of Canada’s two main credit bureaus, Equifax This link will open in a new window or TransUnion This link will open in a new window.

Here is more information on these two options:

1- Free of charge (if all you want to see is the information in your report)

To find out how to receive a free copy of your TransUnion credit report (consumer disclosure) online, by mail or in person, visit the TransUnion website

You can get a free copy of your Equifax credit report in the mail by completing and mailing the request form available on the Equifax website.

In both cases, you’ll need to provide pieces of photocopied official identification such as your driver's license, health insurance card or passport. A list of acceptable identification is provided in the request forms.

The credit report can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to get to you. It shows your history of paying bills and making debt payments on things such as credit card debts. It also includes a list of companies you’ve authorized to receive your credit report. It does not, however, show your credit score.

Warning

A company is offering you a free copy of your credit report?

Be careful! Companies that do this may try to sell you services you don't need, such as yearlong credit report monitoring, for fees totaling hundreds of dollars.

End of the warning

2- For a fee (if you also want to know your credit score)

Your credit score is calculated by the credit bureaus. Since your credit score is used by lenders to gauge the likelihood that you’ll make late payments on a loan, it could be helpful to you in determining the likelihood that a lender will grant you a loan.

Access to a credit report that includes your credit score is virtually instantaneous; however, you’ll have to agree to pay a small fee which will be charged to your credit card.

To understand what the various credit scores mean, visit the Office of Consumer Affairs website This link will open in a new window.