One of the steps in the 30-day challenge is to order your free credit report. You can do so by calling one of the credit bureaus and requesting a copy:
- Equifax Canada
- TransUnion Canada
Tel: 1-800-663-9980 (except Quebec)
Tel: 1-877-713-3393 (Quebec residents)
There are also some online options you can look into, but make sure they’re actually free and won’t eventually cost you money. Some of the third party companies that offer you your free credit report are just getting it from Equifax and TransUnion anyway, so you can call them directly.
Your credit report will have a comprehensive outline of your accounts, both open and closed, including your payment histories and all the times when you might have missed a payment. Don’t feel bad about what you see. You need the status report to figure out where you stand and what steps you can take to improve the situation.
Personal anecdote: I once had a $500 credit card go into collections. That stayed on my credit report for a long time. But I made it a goal to rebuild good credit, little by little. I reached that goal, and you can too if you’re dealing with less than ideal credit.
Your credit report will also tell you your credit score.
A credit score is a three-digit number between 300 and 900 that serves as a snapshot of your creditworthiness i.e. the level of risk a lender has to assume when they lend you money.
In general, credit scores may be ranked as follows:
760 – 900 = Excellent
725 – 759 = Very Good
660 – 724 = Good
560 – 659 = Fair
300 – 559 = Poor
My high school business teacher gave us this advice: get a credit card as soon as you can. But only for the sake of using it to make small purchases that you immediately pay off. (Don’t use it to buy things you can’t afford or that you don’t plan to pay for until later). Doing this can help you build a strong credit score early.
Your credit score will affect what you pay when you borrow money, and it can affect whether you are approved to borrow money at all. So don’t wait until it’s too late to build it up, and don’t put off improving it if there’s room for improvement.
It all starts with ordering a free credit report. Do it and tweet your confirmation to ________________