Your credit score is a number that ranges from 300 to 900 and is calculated from information in your credit report. The higher the number the better your score. This number is commonly used by lenders to help them determine your creditworthiness and interest rate. Your credit score will be looked at when you apply for a loan or credit card, but more and more employers, landlords and phone companies will also check your score.
Until now I wasn’t aware of a way to get your credit score in Canada for free online until I stumbled onto Borrowell’s website. Borrowell has partnered with Equifax and allows Canadians to check their credit score for free online. I typically reserve a healthy dose of skepticism for free things on the internet, but I was pleasantly surprised. Having signed up myself I can say that the process was fast and easy.
Free Online Canadian Credit Score
After a few minutes I’d filled out the form to create an account, confirmed my email address, answered a few verification questions for Equifax, and voila:
I like that I have free online access to my credit score, as I occasionally take advantage of credit card sign-up promotions and credit card arbitrage opportunities. Each time you sign-up for a new credit card it can lower your credit score. Now I can monitor my credit score much more easily to ensure it doesn’t drop too low. Another nice perk is that checking the credit score through Borrowell won’t negatively affect the score. If it does drop too low, then there are a number of ways to improve a credit score over time, but without awareness how do you know to improve it?
If you are interested, you can sign up to check your credit score here.
How To Check Your Canadian Credit Score For Free Online Video
I’ve also created the video below which shows you how to check your free online credit score, step by step.
What’s The Catch?
There isn’t really one, but keep in mind that Borrowell is a financial company. They offer three and five year loans, so they are hoping that by offering you the free credit score you’ll keep them in mind if you need a loan. Sometimes when you sign-up for a free service you get bombarded with promotional emails, but so far I’ve only received a welcome email from them. They seem to have a done a good job of separating the free credit score side from the loan side. If you are only interested in the free credit score then it doesn’t look like you’ll be bugged to much about getting a loan.
If you are interested in a loan they’ll show you the interest rates available to you based on your credit score. I was curious and had a look and they offered me an interest rate of 11.31% for the 3 year loan and 12.92% for the 5 year loan. This seems quite high to me, as I have access to lines of credit at much lower rates. That said, I’m not really their target audience as I don’t keep a credit card balance unless it’s a 0% promo offer. Looking at Borrowell’s website they appear to be promoting themselves as “a fast fair way to borrow to pay off high interest credit card balances”. I’m not really sure what a reasonable interest rate is for a typical debt consolidation loan or how Borrowell compares as I’ve been lucky enough to avoid these situations. Leave a comment below if you think these rates are reasonable or not compared to what a bank or other institution would offer for a similar product. I’d like to hear how Borrowell stacks up against the competition.
Mogo, Another Choice
Having done a bit more research on the topic for this article, I discovered Mogo’s website which is another loan company that appears to be offering free credit scores for Canadians online too. I didn’t sign up with them so I can’t comment on what they are like. If someone has used them before please leave a comment below as I’m curious to hear more about them.
Free Credit Reports
Your credit score is one score, whereas a credit report contains your credit history and details how well you pay off your debt obligations. It is a good idea to check your credit report every now and again to make sure there aren’t any mistakes with it as this can happen from time to time.
Borrowell offers you a free online credit score through their partnership with Equifax, but if you want a free online credit report (Different from a credit score) then you will have to use TransUnion as Equifax only offers free credit reports through mail in Canada.
Free Online TransUnion Credit Report
TransUnion calls their credit report a consumer disclosure. They offer it for free online, but only once a year so be sure to save the PDF or print it before navigating to another page. To get your free online credit report go to the TransUnion website, scroll down, click on online access and then follow the steps. The TransUnion website also has directions on how to request this report by mail, in person, or over the phone (1-800-663-9980 [Prompt 1]).
Free Equifax Credit Report
To order your free credit report by phone you can call Equifax at 1-800-465-7166 and they will mail it to you. The phone number doesn’t always work for everyone. If it doesn’t work, then you’ll have to fill out a form and mail or fax it to Equifax. The form and details are here on Equifax’s website.
A statistic that I read on Borrowell’s website was that 86% of Canadians don’t know their credit score. I don’t find this too surprising as it used to be very difficult or time consuming to get your score. Hopefully with free online access to credit scores this statistic will drop over time and as more people become aware of their credit score they can take steps to improve it, if need be.
Do you know your credit score? How often do you check your credit report?