Credit reports and ratings are important to everyone, especially for those wishing to re-establish and improve their credit rating following an insolvency.
There are a number of basics steps you can take to determine what your credit rating is now and how to interpret it.
Obtaining Your Credit Report or Credit Rating
Your credit history is recorded in files maintained by at least one of Canada’s three major credit-reporting agencies.
For residents of all provinces except Quebec:
Tel.: (905) 525-0262
For Quebec residents:
Tel.: (514) 335-0374
Northern Credit Bureaus Inc.
Fax (toll-free): 1-800-646-5876
Methods of obtaining your credit file from each of the agencies are as follows:
WHAT IS YOUR Credit score?
Your credit score is a judgment about your financial health, at a specific point in time. It indicates the risk you represent for lenders, compared with other consumers.
There are many different ways to work out credit scores. The credit-reporting agencies Equifax and TransUnion use a scale from 300 to 900. High scores on this scale are good. The higher your score, the lower the risk for the lender.
WHAT IS Credit rating?
Some credit-reporting agencies report the lenders’ rating of each of your credit history items on a scale of R1 to R9. A rating of “RI” means you pay your bills within 30 days of the due date. A rating of “R9” means that you never pay your bills at all or have filed for bankruptcy.
Details of each or the ratings are as follows:
|R0||Too new to rate; approved but not used.|
|R1||Pays (or paid) within 30 days from payment due date or not over one payment past due.|
|R2||Pays(or paid) in more than 30 days of payment due date, but not more than 60 days, or not more than two payment past due.|
|R3||Pays (or paid) in more than 60 days from payment due date, but not more than 90 days, or not more than three payments past due.|
|R4||Pays (or paid) in more than 90 days from payment due date, but not more than 120 days, or four payments past due.|
|R5||Account is at least 120 days overdue, but is not yet rated “9”.|
|R6||This rating does not exist.|
|R7||Making regular payments through a special arrangement to settle your debts.|
|R8||Repossession (voluntary or involuntary return of merchandise).|
|R9||Bad debt; placed for collection; moved without giving a new address, or bankruptcy.|
|Other rating indicators that might be found or a report are “I” for installment credit or “O” for open credit line.|
Source: Equifax Canada
GOOD SOURCES OF CREDIT REPORTING INFORMATION
Here is a summary of links to good sources of credit reporting information and how to effectively manage your credit rating:
- Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation – A good source for overview of credit checks, credit rating and how to manage your credit file.
- Globe and Mail – Why is my boyfriends credit score higher than mine? – A good summary of what qualifies as good credit score.
- Huffington Post – How inaccurate credit reporting can make your life hell. – Deals with the issue of inaccurate credit reports and how to fix them.
- Financial Consumer Agency of Canada – Understanding your credit report and credit score. – A good summary of the basics.
- Canadian Consumer Handbook – How to find your credit report.
- Canadian Bankers Association – Understanding Your Credit Report – More basics on credit reporting.