Checking Your Free Credit Report in Canada

For the most part, I think Canadians have the advantage over Americans. Our housing economy didn’t crash (completely), our banks don’t appear to be failing, and medical care is downright affordable. One place where our southern friends do have the advantage, however, is when it comes to credit reports.

Everyone knows that they should be checking their credit report. A credit report is very, very important when it comes to maintaining your financial health.

Checking Your Free Credit Report

Checking your credit report will allow you to quickly and efficiently challenge incorrect reports, find potential identity theft, and ensure that financial institutions give you the best deal possible when doing business. Not checking your credit report is like never going to the dentist. You may not feel like you have a problem, but if you wake up one day with a tooth ache you’ll wish you did some basic maintenance rather than a massive root canal.

In America, at least, you can get 3 free “checkups” every single year from the 3 major reporting agencies. In Canada, however, there are only 2 agencies you can get credit reports from. Luckily, they are both free and relatively easy to request.

How to get a free credit report in Canada

The two reporting agencies are Equifax and TransUnion Canada. You can get a free credit report from Equifax by filling out the form found here.  You must print this report, fill it out, photocopy the necessary identification, and mail/fax it all off to Quebec. Once it is received, they will mail it back to you in a couple of weeks. TransUnion Canada is similar. A mailable form is found here.

TransUnion Canada does offer another way of getting your free credit report – and that is by phone. I just did this, and I would highly suggest it to anyone that wants to get their credit report but is too lazy to print out a form and fill it out. It took me 5 minutes and 56 seconds to follow the phone prompts, and I believe I passed because one of the many robotic automated voices told me that I should receive a credit report within 3 to 5 business days.  As long as you know your SIN #, Credit Card #, and some basic financial information about yourself (last place you applied for credit, current credit cards/loans/bank accounts, how old you are) then you should be able to quickly and easily obtain a credit report.

I wasn’t able to find any timeline restrictions on the fine print on either website or through the automated system, but in the States you can only get one free credit report per agency per year. Hopefully that restriction does not apply in Canada, but if it does I would suggest getting one report every 6 months. That spreads it out enough so that you should be able to catch anything major before you apply for a mortgage or a credit increase.

When was the last time you checked your credit report?

Written by Alan Schram

Alan Schram writes about personal finance and his encounters with it in his everyday life. Alan is recently married and is looking to save money on expenses and reduce his debts.

7 Responses to Checking Your Free Credit Report in Canada

  1. Many years ago, one of my store credit card accounts reported something erroneously. It took me 6 months to correct it. There was no way to prove it was an error, but they corrected it finally. It is always a good strategy to check your credit report periodically.

  2. I just received both credit reports this week. I requested them a couple of weeks ago by mail. It was pretty fast. Lots of details included in the report. It was nice to see the details and the information available.

    Unfortunately, you don’t get a credit score. You just get to see what’s in the report. I am curious to know if you get the credit score if you pay.

  3. I strongly suggest mailing in the request and having the hard copy sent back to you. Yes it takes a bit longer but a client of mine just requested theirs from Equifax online. While they were happy to sign the client up for a subscription and charge their credit card (and then continue to try to charge for it,) they still have not received their report from Equifax. Same client also requested an online report from TransUnion and that was fraught with problems too. Only after contacting the company and confirming through the mail anyway – along with a ton of unneeded stress – she finally got at least one report.

  4. To the passive investor, you do get your score if you pay for the report. My understanding is that it is slightly different then the scores used by the financial institutions. But it will be accurate enough.

  5. I can confirm in Canada you are free to check your credit report as often as you wish, with no annual cap as in US. Also, we recommend you know your score, as the Equifax Risk Score is the score used by many financial institutions. Great article,Alan.

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