What is a credit score

 

A credit score is a number that represents your overall credit health. It indicates how likely you are to make payments on time or default on a loan.

Your score can range from 300 to 900, with 300 being the lowest possible score and 900 being the highest. It works like this: the lower your score, the higher the risk you pose to lenders; the higher your score, the lower the risk. It’s time to find out where you stand.

Why us?

 

We know how valuable it is to know your credit score. We also know how important your credit score is to others — banks, brokers, lenders, even landlords and employers. So we’re here to help you get all the information. Plus, our credit score service hits all these notes:

Free

There’s no charge to check your score through our site.

Safe

Checking your score will not damage your credit in any way.

Secure

Your information is private and handled with discretion.

What your credit score means

 

Your credit score tells lenders — or anyone else who inquires — if you’re a safe or risky borrower. It also serves as a general indication of your financial well being. Your score will fall roughly into one of three major ranges — good, fair, and bad. Each range is associated with different credit behaviour and may have an impact on what loans or credit cards you qualify for. Remember: the higher your score, the lower the risk you pose and the more likely it is that lenders will offer you competitive interest rates, loan terms, or special benefits.

Credit ScoreWhat it means
Bad
300 - 574
Indicates serious credit problems and a high-risk borrower. A score in this range means it will be difficult to secure credit with reasonable rates and terms, or you may be required to provide an asset-backed security to qualify for credit.
Fair
575 - 649
Indicates average to above-average credit health. Borrowers in this range can expect to qualify for credit with high interest or low limits.
Good to Excellent
650 - 749
Indicates healthy credit. Borrowers in this range represent a fairly low risk for lenders and can expect good terms on loans and credit.
750 - 900
Indicates excellent credit. Borrowers in this range pose no credit risk and can typically get approved for loans with competitive terms.

Why it’s important to know your credit score

 
To apply for a credit card

Your credit score determines your credit card options. If you have a good (or excellent) score, you’re more likely to qualify for premium cards with lucrative awards. If you have average or poor credit, then more basic cards or cards with credit-building benefits are a better fit.

To apply for a mortgage

Understanding your credit score — before speaking to a broker or lender — helps you prepare for your housing purchase. A good mortgage rate can save you thousands of dollars in interest, but lenders can’t offer you a mortgage rate until they know what level of risk you pose.

To apply for a rental

Your credit score can have a very real impact on whether or not you get approved or denied for a rental apartment. So before you apply for the rental home of your dreams, check your credit score and make sure it meets the landlord’s requirements.

To apply for a car loan or personal loan

Your credit score can have a very real impact on whether or not you get approved or denied for a rental apartment. So before you apply for the rental home of your dreams, check your credit score and make sure it meets the landlord’s requirements.

To improve your score

Before you can improve your financial standing, you need to know where you stand. Whether your score is poor, excellent, or somewhere in between, knowing your number is an important step on the road to good credit health.

To invest your money

If you’re looking to borrow money for investment purposes, knowing your credit score is key. It plays an important role in accessing the best loan rates and in determining the amount of credit you can qualify for.

How to check your score for free

 
  1. Use the form above to enter your email address and select the reason you’re checking your score.
  2. Finish the form on our partner’s site (we’ll transfer you). It should only take a few minutes.
  3. See your Equifax credit score immediately and get updates every three months at no charge.

Common questions about credit scores

 
Will checking my credit score affect my credit?

No. If you request a copy of your credit report or check your credit score, your credit score won’t be affected. Those inquires are considered ‘soft hits’. However, if you apply for credit — e.g. a credit card, mortgage, or loan — and a lender requests a copy of your credit report, those inquiries are considered ‘hard hits’, which can affect your credit score. But don’t worry — lender inquiries are expected, so the occasional hard hit shouldn’t hurt your score. Just try to avoid too many inquiries in a short period of time.

How often should I review my credit report?

Your credit report is an annual update to your credit history and it includes personal information, loan details, payment history, and public records. You should review your credit report once a year to make sure all the information is accurate and up-to-date. But if you’re planning to take out a loan or apply for a mortgage, you should review your standing beforehand so you can notify one or both of the major credit reporting agencies of any changes that are required.

Does my credit score change regularly?

It can. Credit reporting agencies collect credit information from lenders on a regular basis, so your credit report — which influences your credit score — can change frequently, depending on your credit behaviour (e.g. your credit utilization, payment habits, and debt levels).

What’s the difference between TransUnion and Equifax?

TransUnion and Equifax are the two major credit reporting agencies in Canada. They’re completely separate companies, and although they look at similar credit factors to determine your credit score, they use different algorithms — that’s why your score may differ between the two. Lenders can choose to access reports from either, or both, of these agencies when assessing your risk level.

How your score is calculated

 

Credit scores are calculated based on a number of different factors. Here are the most important variables to keep in mind:

Payment history

This is the biggest factor in determining your credit score. Late payments and defaulting on debts will impact your credit score negatively, while paying bills on time and meeting or exceeding your minimum credit card payments will keep your credit in good standing.

Credit utilization

Your credit history is a long-term summary of your credit behaviour, stretching back to your earliest cell phone payments and credit card usage. And the longer your credit history is, the more accurate your credit score will be. What counts towards your credit history? Things like loan payments, credit cards, phone bills, rent, and utilities.

Credit mix

Having a mix of different credit sources — e.g. having a loan, a mortgage, and credit card — is likely to benefit your credit score. Just make sure they’re all in good standing.

Delinquency history

Also known as late or missed payments, both of which can damage your credit score. Unpaid debts that have been taken on by collections agencies are the most damaging to your score, so try to always make your payments on time and never take on debts you can’t service.

Inquiries

When lenders request access to your credit history, it’s considered a ‘hard hit’ or an ‘inquiry’. These requests can impact your credit score, especially if they all occur within a short period of time.