Your credit report is your first impression on a new potential lender. Your credit report needs to make a good first impression because it affects the interest rate, and amount of loan a lender is willing to give you. If you have errors on your credit report, it’s important to address them immediately.
How to Check Your Credit Report
The two credit reporting agencies in Canada are Equifax and TransUnion. Each company allows you to order one free copy of your credit report each year. If you want to check your credit report more than once a year you have two options. You can either:
- Pay for an additional copy of your report from the same agency,
- Stagger out your free credit reports from Equfax and TransUnion by six months.
The options above are for a mail order copy of your credit report. As of 2017, TransUnion also enabled an online version of this. Consumers can now check their credit report for free online after correctly answering a few verification questions.
How to Correct Errors on Your Credit Report
There are three main sections on your credit report. Each section has it’s own owner. Although it is your report, you are not an owner on every section of your credit report.
1. Personal Information
You are the owner of the personal information section on your report. Any changes to this section is submitted by you to the credit reporting agencies. This section includes your full name, address, and employment history.
2. Creditor Information
When you take out a new loan, or credit card, or register with any new creditor that reports to the credit bureau, that information gets placed here. This is where your creditors can report on your payment history. The information in this section includes your creditor’s name, the type of loan, and notes on your payment behaviour. Creditors can also leave comments on your account status, and provide reasoning if they gave you a poor rating.
If you’ve missed multiple payments to one creditor, they may send your account to collections. That creditor will then place a note on your credit report, which lets the agency know your account has been sent to collections.
Your creditors are the owner of this section on your report. It’s important to review your credit report to ensure your creditors are correctly reporting on your history. If you see something you would like to dispute, both Equifax and TransUnion have dispute resolution forms. These forms must be completed by you, and submitted to each credit reporting agency.
3. Public Records
This section of your report includes registered items like liens, mortgages and wage garnishments. Information on this section of the report is not broadcasted publicly, but if someone went looking, these records are open to the public. Any judgements like a consumer proposal or a bankruptcy are also noted on this section of your credit report.
In a bankruptcy or consumer proposal, your Licensed Insolvency Trustee files this information with the government. It is the government that provides the credit bureau with information to add to this section of your credit report. Your trustee does not have access to update or amend any section of your credit report. The government is the owner of this section on your report. If there are any disputes within this section, it has to be taken up directly with the government.
Credit Report After Bankruptcy
You’ll need appropriate paperwork to show that you are in fact correct if you ever have to dispute something on your credit report. If it’s been more than six years from your first bankruptcy discharge, or more than three years since you’ve completed your consumer proposal payments, those creditors involved should no longer appear on your report. If they are still showing up as in a bankruptcy or proposal with you, provide your completion or discharge papers as proof.
Avoid Repeat Errors
If you dispute an error that is caused by incorrect reporting from your creditor, contact them directly. You’ll still have to complete the full dispute resolution process the first time you catch this error, but contacting your creditor will help ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Just a simply ask them to update their file, but f they aren’t cooperating, you can file a complaint with the government.
If you’re repeatedly turned down for new loans, and all information on your credit report is correct, it may be a debt issue. If you’re struggling with debt and are unsure what to do, speak with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in Toronto.