How to access your credit report for free — and why you should
The federal government suggests getting a copy from both Equifax and TransUnion at least once a year
The federal government suggests getting a copy of your credit report from both agencies at least once a year, to check that your personal and financial information is up to date, and to ensure that you haven't been a victim of identity theft.
Here's The Lowdown on how to check your credit report for free.
Consumers can apply to Equifax or TransUnion by mail, with two pieces of government-issued identification that are photocopied front and back.
It's also possible to get a copy of your report from TransUnion over the phone or online, by answering some questions — or by visiting the Newfoundland and Labrador TransUnion office on Topsail Road in St. John's.
A credit report could contain mistakes, like someone else's information on your file, debts that aren't yours, or debts that you've already paid off.
You should notify the credit reporting agency immediately if you find any inaccurate information.
What if it's a bad report?
Credit information stays on your file for at least six years, including:
- If you regularly pay on time.
- How much you owe.
- Your credit limits.
- A list of authorized people or institutions who have accessed your file.
If your credit report is bad but accurate, the federal government says there is no point in hiring a company that claims it can clean it up for you.
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The only thing a credit repair company can do is fix inaccuracies — which is something that you can do yourself, for free.
Credit report vs. credit score
Something that's not included in your credit report is your credit score: a three-digit number that's based on the information from your credit report, which lenders use to make credit decisions.
An individual can get both their credit score and credit report online from both agencies for a fee.
The Lowdown is a series from CBC NL Investigates about consumer news you can use. If you have a story idea, email us: email@example.com.