Friday, January 16, 2009

Cleaning up your credit - Part I - where do I get my score?

Further to my New Year's post and promise of educating Canadians on how to clean up their credit, here's my first post on the subject. I'll break it out over several posts next week, so check back soon and be sure to leave me your credit questions and problems.

Q. Where do you get your credit report/score?

A: The two main reporting agencies are Equifax ( and TransUnion ( There are more and more credit monitoring services popping up, but I'd suggesting starting with going directly to each. You are eligible to receive a free credit report in the mail from both companies as often as you request (see their websites for the request form to fill out). This is a good start but it's somewhat limited as it won't tell you your magic "score". Your free report will tell you what's on your report and give you a snap shot of your current status and your debt/payment history over the past 6 years, a list of open credit, etc.

I am more familiar with Equifax than TransUnion, so I'll make specific references to Equifax. You can order that same report instantly via internet, if you like, for $15.50, but again, it's just a report. For $23.95, you can instantly, online, get the full enchilada which I do recommend you purchase at least once every year; every 6 months is better. This option will give you your full credit report plus you credit score. Without this score, it's difficult to interpret just the report. Plus, this report will give you an explaination of your score, graphs showing where your score rates you according to the average in Canada, how lenders see you and more.

Your score is fluid and can change every month. So a good or bad score today can change in the future. In later posts, I'll detail tips for improving your score.

Check back Monday for interpreting your score and Tuesday I'll detail what's on your credit report and what's not. I'll spend the rest of next week addressing this subject.

Wishing you a great weekend! See you Monday!

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