Everything you ever wanted to know about credit reports, but didn't know
what questions to ask
OTTAWA, Sept. 14, 2012 /CNW/ - Credit reports can have a major impact on
your life, but many Canadians do not know much about them.
"Our recent survey on Canadians' knowledge of their rights and responsibilities found that
knowledge of credit reports was particularly low," says FCAC Commissioner Ursula Menke. "The vast majority of people—90 percent—do not know that
they can obtain a credit report free by mail, while 62 percent do not
know how to dispute an entry in their credit report."
Credit reporting agencies track how you use credit products, such as
credit cards and loans, and pay your bills. This information is used to
create your credit report and credit score. Lenders may use this information when they decide whether they will
lend you money, and how much they will charge you to borrow it.
Employers and landlords may also check your credit report when you apply for a job or rent housing.
"It's a good idea to check your credit report at least once a year, and
doing so will not hurt your credit score," says Commissioner Menke.
"Think of it as an annual checkup for your financial health."
To help Canadian consumers, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
(FCAC) has updated and added to the free, unbiased information it
provides consumers about credit reports.
Credit report and score basics
FCAC's enhanced publication, Understanding Your Credit Report and Credit Score, provides tips and information:
How can I benefit from a good credit history?
You may be able to get a lower interest rate on loans, which can save
you a lot of money over time.
How long does negative information stay on my credit report?
The exact amount of time varies by type of information and by province
or territory. For most negative information, the maximum is six or
How can I improve my credit score?
Always make your payments on time even if you can only manage the
minimum amount. If you think you will have trouble paying a bill,
contact the lender to see if you can work out a special arrangement.
Will shopping around for a car or mortgage hurt my score?
You may reduce the impact if you shop around within a two-week period.
All inquiries related to auto or mortgage loans made during this time
are usually combined and treated as a single inquiry.
Is my mortgage included in my credit report?
Your mortgage information and your history of mortgage payments may
appear in your credit report and may count toward your credit score.
This depends on the practices of each credit reporting agency.
Order your free credit report
You have the right to see your own credit report. FCAC's tip sheet, How to Order Your Credit Report has details on how to get your credit report free of charge:
You may order your free report by mail, fax, telephone or in person.
You must receive it by mail or in person.
If you choose to access your report online, you will have to pay a fee.
Correct any errors and check for fraud
Ensure the accuracy of your credit report by checking carefully for
errors. Your credit report will also show if you have been a victim of
fraud. FCAC's tip sheet, Protecting Your Credit Report: How to Correct Errors and Check for Fraud, outlines the steps to take if you have any questions about the
information in your report, and also what to do if you are a victim of
FCAC has also posted two Tip Clips on its YouTube channel to help consumers find out more about credit reports and how to protect
themselves from fraud.
With educational materials and interactive tools, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) provides objective information about financial products and
services to help Canadians increase their financial knowledge and
confidence in managing their personal finances. FCAC informs consumers
about their rights and responsibilities when dealing with banks and federally regulated trust, loan and
insurance companies. FCAC also makes sure that federally regulated
financial institutions, payment card network operators and external
complaints bodies comply with legislation and industry commitments intended to protect consumers.
You can reach us through FCAC's Consumer Services Centre by calling
toll-free 1-866-461-3222 (TTY: 613-947-7771 or 1-866-914-6097) or by
visiting our website: itpaystoknow.gc.ca.
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Video with caption: "Video: Your Credit Report - Free by Mail!
". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20120914_C6450_VIDEO_EN_17864.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20120914_C6450_PHOTO_EN_17864.jpg&clientName=Financial%20Consumer%20Agency%20of%20Canada&caption=Video%3A%20Your%20Credit%20Report%20%2D%20Free%20by%20Mail%21%0D%0A&title=Tip%20Clip%3A%20Your%20Credit%20Report%20%2D%20Free%20by%20Mail%21&headline=%40FCACan%20offers%20tips%20on%20credit%20reports%26%23x2014%3Bhow%20to%20order%20them%20for%20free%2C%20correct%20errors%20and%20check%20for%20fraud
Image with caption: "90 percent of Canadians do not know that they can obtain a credit report free by mail. (CNW Group/Financial Consumer Agency of Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120914_C6450_PHOTO_EN_17862.jpg
SOURCE: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
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Media Relations Officer