• Order your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies across Canada: Equifax, TransUnion Canada and Northern Credit Bureaus. They do not collect and report identical information, so if you don’t request your information from all three you may not be viewing all of your financial history.
• For a fee, you can find out your credit score. Credit reporting agencies also provide information about factors that could be bringing your score down as well as suggestions for improving your score.
For more information, go to www.fcac.gc.ca.
Top tips for improving your credit score
• Pay your bills on time. Although the payment of your utility bills, such as phone, cable and electricity, is not recorded in your credit report, some cell phone companies may report late payments to the credit-reporting agencies, which could affect your score.
• Try to pay your bills in full by the due date. If you aren’t able to do this, pay at least the required minimum amount shown on your monthly credit card statement.
• Try to pay off your debts as quickly as possible.
• Don’t go over the credit limit on your credit card. The higher your balance, the more impact it has on your credit score.
• Reduce the number of credit applications you make. If too many potential lenders ask about your credit in a short period of time, this could have a negative effect on your score.
• Make sure you have a credit history in your own name. You may have a low score because you do not have a record of owing money and paying it back. This simplest way to build a credit history is by using a credit card. For more on establishing credit, click here.
For more information on your credit score, click here.
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