Credit Reports – TransUnion and Equifax
Canadian credit reports come from two main sources, Equifax, and TransUnion. Each reporting agency has slightly different protocols for the length of time activity is reported before it is purged. For example, a first time bankruptcy is reported on Equifax for six (6) years from the date of discharge, the same bankruptcy is reported on TransUnion for seven (7) years from the date of discharge. They both agree that a second bankruptcy will be reported for fourteen (14) years post discharge.
Urban myths, or common misunderstandings:
Urban myths abound regarding Credit Bureau reporting, here are two common ones: 1. “after 7 years I don’t need to tell creditors I had been bankrupt before”, and 2. “if I go bankrupt, I won’t be able to get credit for seven years”. On the first point, if you are asked on a credit application if you have “ever been bankrupt” you must answer truthfully, and the fact the bankruptcy has been purged from your credit report does not mean it never happened. To the second point – we can see how this urban myth was generated, nonetheless, if you meet the qualifying criteria by the creditor, you can get credit while you are bankrupt as well as within the seven years following the discharge.
Credit reports can have a profound impact on your financial life, yet few people check them regularly. It may not seem like a problem – at least until it is a problem. Buying a house is a wake up call for many folks – it seems that making the largest single purchase in one’s life require more than a cursory backcheck. There are all kinds of things that could be erroneously reported in your credit report, and if there were an error from years ago it may still be kicking around. Some mistakes can time to correct and can damage access to debt (credit) in the meantime.
Here is a sampling of a few errors that may be reported: “wrong name, address, date of birth SIN” without a correcting action from the reportee, it is easy to see how these errors could carry into perpetuity. Other errors include “credit accounts that were closed still showing as open” there may “dormant collection accounts” that appear to ongoing collection issues or “items that should have been purged” could still be showing up.
Your credit report is your responsibility, and you should make sure that you understand where yours is at before you commit to a large financial transaction. Credit Reporting Agencies are governed by federal and provincial laws, rules and regulations – and they may be quite different from province to province. You should check and carefully review your credit report at least once a year, this will also provide an opportunity to catch any credit fraud that could be a problem.
After you have reviewed your credit reports, call the office 519-646-2222 to arrange a free appointment to review it with an LIT and make sure you are staying on track