Gunning for a loan to splurge on your dream car? Or applying for an apartment in that coveted building with the pool? A superstar credit score will help you get approved for these new financial opportunities (and you can always bump that score up with a few hot credit tips).
Credit scores let lenders know you’re reliable when it comes to paying your bills. And who’s coming up with this influential number? Credit bureaus.
Credit bureaus, also known as credit reporting agencies, are private companies that collect, store and share information about how you use credit. And yeah, they play a big role in how you build your credit.
There are two major ones in Canada – Equifax and TransUnion.
Using information provided by services like internet providers, auto financers and financial institutions (that’s us!), these bureaus will update your credit report with information about your Canadian credit activity. Because these bureaus work independently, be aware that you’ll have a separate credit report at each one, with possible variations.
Each bureau uses their own formula to generate your credit score. Generally speaking, a report is created around the time of your first credit application.
Your credit report could include:
When you opened an account
How much you owe
How frequently you make your payments on time
If your debt has been transferred to a collection agency
If you go over your credit limit
Any personal information that is available in public records, such as a bankruptcy
It’s important to know that Capital One reports to both credit bureaus. This can benefit you because some lenders might pull reports from multiple bureaus to assess your creditworthiness, and the differences in their reporting algorithms could provide a bigger picture of your credit history.
However, some lenders may not report your activity to one of the major credit reporting agencies, or any of them at all. By not reporting your account activity, you lose out on building your credit score – something lenders are interested in when deciding whether or not to extend you credit. You can contact your credit card company if you’re not sure.
Interested in seeing your credit report?
Reviewing your credit report can give you more confidence to apply for a loan, or show your progress in rebuilding your credit. It can also help you detect suspicious activity on your credit accounts by revealing if there’s a change to your personal information or an inquiry from an unfamiliar lender.
If you’re interested in obtaining your credit report, you may be able to order it for free from Equifax and TransUnion. You can also contact them to inquire about incorrect data on your report.
Know your credit score.
You can check your credit score with Credit Keeper® from Capital One1 , which gives you quick access to your credit score for free. You don’t have to be a Capital One customer to use it, but if you are, you can check your credit score through our online banking site or mobile app. (Credit Keeper is currently unavailable to Quebec residents.)
You can check your score regularly to see how it changes over time, and it won’t impact your score, no matter how often you do it.
1 The credit score and report information by Credit Keeper is intended for educational purposes only. Lenders and other commercial users may use a different type of credit score and other information when making credit decisions.