There are plenty of ways that you can check your credit score for free in Canada. This page will take a look at how you can check your credit score and credit report for free, why you should check your credit score regularly, and how your credit score can affect you. Not only will having a good credit score get you the best mortgage rate, it may also help you save money on home insurance.
Having a good credit score will help you qualify for the best credit cards and lowest mortgage rates. Your creditors, such as credit card companies, send information about your accounts to Canada's two credit bureaus: Equifax and TransUnion. These credit bureaus, sometimes called credit reporting agencies, collect your credit information to create a credit report, which lenders will check when you apply for credit with them. You should ensure the information on your credit report is accurate as inaccurate information will not only make it more difficult for you to borrow; it might even prevent you from opening a chequing account.
Your credit score is then calculated based on the information on your credit report. Each lender may have their own special formula or credit score model to calculate your credit score, such as different weighting on factors like payment history or credit utilization. Not all creditors will report to both credit bureaus. For example, your cell phone plan might only show up on your Equifax credit report. Not all lenders check both of your credit scores either. For example, if you’re applying for a credit card, the credit card company might choose to only check your TransUnion credit report.
Since you have two credit reports, it’s important to check your credit score and credit file at both Equifax and TransUnion, since you never know which bureau your lender will use to check your credit history. When checking your free credit score, you’ll be presented with a credit score and credit report from only one credit bureau. For a fuller picture of your financial health, it’s best to use more than one free credit score checker so that you can get your credit score from both bureaus.
If you’re a banking customer of certain major Canadian banks, you may be able to check your credit score online for free. Clients of RBC, Scotiabank, BMO, and CIBC can check their credit scores for free. If not, you can use free credit score websites. You can also always go directly to Equifax or TransUnion to request your free credit report and credit score. Here are the ways that you can check your credit score for free:
You can check your credit score for free with RBC Online Banking. RBC's free credit score check uses TransUnion.
To check your credit score with RBC, you'll need to be an RBC client and enrolled in online banking. After signing onto online banking, click “My Services“ and then “View Your Credit Score“. This will take you to the TransUnion CreditView Dashboard, which gives you your free TransUnion credit score, your TransUnion credit report, and a free Credit Score Simulator Tool to see how changes to your credit can affect your credit score.
Use this link to check your credit score with RBC.
Scotiabank lets you check your credit score for free either online or through the Scotiabank mobile app. Scotiabank’s credit score check uses TransUnion.
To check your credit score with Scotiabank, first sign on to your online banking. Under “Manage My Accounts“, there is a link that says “See Your Credit Score“. Clicking this link will take you to a free TransUnion dashboard that shows your TransUnion credit score, your credit score history, and your free credit report.
To check using the Scotiabank mobile app, first sign onto the app. Under the tab that says “My Updates“, you'll see a dropdown that says “TransUnion Credit Score“. You will then be shown your credit score, credit report, and credit score history.
Use this link to check your credit score with Scotiabank.
BMO lets you check your credit score for free through online banking. The credit score is provided for free by TransUnion.
To check your credit score, first sign onto online banking. Click on the “My Profile & eDocuments“ tab. On the left-hand side, there is an option that says “My Credit Score“. Clicking on this will take you to TransUnion's free CreditView Dashboard. You'll see your TransUnion credit score, called a CreditVision Risk Score, along with your credit report and monthly credit score history. Your score history will only track months that you have logged into the dashboard to check your credit score.
At the bottom of the page is a CreditVision Simulator that simulates your credit score.
Use this link to check your credit score with BMO.
CIBC clients can check their credit score for free, but only through the CIBC Mobile Banking App. CIBC’s free credit score is provided by Equifax.
You can't check your credit score using CIBC online banking. Instead, you must use the CIBC mobile app. After signing onto the app, open up the menu and swipe down until you see “Free Credit Score“. You will then be shown your free Equifax credit score. This credit score is only updated every three months.
Use this link to check your credit score with CIBC.
Credit Karma is a free website that lets you check your credit score online. You will need to enter your personal information in order for them to find your credit file. This can include entering your SIN. During registration, you'll be asked verification questions based on your credit file, such as when you opened an account, the name of a certain lender, or where you last applied for credit.
CreditKarma uses your TransUnion credit report and updates your credit score weekly. They also offer personalized credit card offers based on your credit score. This will be for cards that they think you will have a good chance of getting approved for.
Borrowell is similar to Credit Karma, but it uses Equifax instead of TransUnion. Borrowell also updates your credit information once every week.
You'll receive your Equifax credit score and credit report. Borrowell's Credit Coach also gives information to help you improve your credit score, such as notifying you if you made too many new credit applications or your credit utilization.
A unique feature that Borrowell offers is a free bill tracker. You can see your upcoming bills, see how it can affect your bank balance and cash flow, and get bill reminders so that you'll never pay a bill late. The free bill tracker is only available using the Borrowell app. The app updates your Equifax credit information monthly.
Mogo is a publicly traded company that offers free credit score monitoring along with personal loans, prepaid cards, loans, and mortgages. Mogo uses Equifax and updates your credit score once every month.
To check your Equifax score for free with Mogo, you will need to get the free MogoCard. The MogoCard is a Mogo Visa prepaid card that can be funded using Visa Direct Transfer or Interac e-Transfer. Mogo's free credit score monitoring gives you your monthly credit score along with free identity fraud protection. You can’t check your credit report with Mogo.
Equifax lets you check your credit score and report online for free. This information is updated monthly. You can also request to get a physical copy of your credit report delivered to you. Requesting postal delivery through Equifax's online form takes 5 to 10 days for delivery using Canada Post. If you submit a printed form by mail, it will take 10 to 20 days.
Equifax also offers a paid subscription service if you want credit monitoring and identity theft protection. You’ll also receive daily access to your credit score and credit report. This plan, called Equifax Complete Premier, costs $19.95 per month.
Use this link to get your free Equifax credit score and credit report.
Besides Quebec, TransUnion does not offer free access to your TransUnion credit score, but it does allow you to request your credit report for free. Your credit report can be requested as a consumer disclosure either online or by mail. If you're accessing your credit report online, you'll be able to view and download it for free. If you're requesting it by mail, you will need to complete a consumer request form along with a photocopy of your ID and mail it to TransUnion. You can also request it in person at TransUnion offices, or over the phone.
You can request to see your free credit report monthly. For all provinces besides Quebec, your consumer disclosure will only contain your credit report and not your credit score. If you are a resident of Quebec, the consumer disclosure will include your TransUnion credit score using TransUnion’s myTrueIdentity credit monitoring platform.
If you're not a Quebec resident, you will need to pay for a TransUnion subscription service in order to see your credit score. This will cost $19.95 per month. If you want to see your TransUnion credit score for free, then you can access it through RBC, Scotiabank, BMO, or Credit Karma.
Use this link to get your free TransUnion credit report.
|Provider||Credit Bureau Used||Updates Every|
A good credit score is in the mid 600’s and up. Equifax classifies a good credit score as 660 or higher, while TransUnion classifies a good credit score as 650 or higher. If you’re looking to get a mortgage, you will want to aim to have a credit score of at least 600.
Since Equifax and TransUnion both use different credit score models, their credit score ranges are slightly different. Here’s how Equifax and TransUnion rank credit scores in Canada:
|Rating||Equifax Credit Score||TransUnion Credit Score|
|Very Good||725 - 759||720 - 799|
|Good||660 - 724||650 - 719|
|Fair||560 - 659||600 - 649|
|Poor||300 - 559||300 - 599|
Did you know that you can get a different credit score number even if your free credit score source uses the same credit bureau? That’s because each source can use a different method of scoring your credit, even if they use the same information from the same credit report.
If you already have an account with RBC, Scotiabank, CIBC, or BMO, then you can easily access your free credit score without having to signup or provide any additional information. However, you’ll only get your credit score from one credit bureau, and you’ll only get updates once per month. In the case of CIBC, your credit score is only updated once every three months.
For more frequent updates, and if you’re not a customer of any of these banks, then the free credit score providers can offer updates as frequently as every week and is open to anyone. Using both Credit Karma and Borrowell will allow you to receive your credit score from both Equifax and TransUnion once every week.
To get a better idea of your credit score, you may want to consider checking your credit score from more than one source. Using multiple credit score sources can allow you to get a better idea of what range your credit score is in.
Using any of these free credit score services will not negatively impact your credit score. These providers all check your credit report using a soft inquiry or a soft hit.
Only hard inquiries will hurt your credit score. Hard credit checks are only done by lenders when you apply for credit with them, such as applying for a mortgage or credit card.
Your credit score is one indicator of your financial health, and it’s a good idea to regularly check-in to see how your score is doing. If you’re planning on applying for a mortgage to buy a home, you will want to check your credit score as soon as possible. This will give you time to build up your credit if you have a particularly bad credit score. Having a low credit score can mean the difference between being approved for a mortgage or being denied. A low credit score can also cause you to have a higher mortgage rate. Fixing your credit score ahead of time can potentially save you money.
Besides your credit score, you should also review your credit report regularly. This can help you spot possible identity theft early, such as spotting a new credit card that you never applied for. Any irregularities, incorrect information, or missing information should be reported to the credit bureau.
You will want to have a minimum credit score of 600 if you want to get a mortgage from most major banks and lenders. You are also required to have a minimum credit score of 600 if you want to get an insured mortgage, which is mandatory if you make a down payment that is less than 20%.
Some lenders, such as monoline lenders and private lenders, have lower credit score requirements, or no minimum at all. To learn more about credit scores needed for mortgages in Canada, visit our minimum credit score for mortgages page.
Each lender will use different weightings of the factors listed below. Your credit score is calculated based on these basic factors. Most of Canada’s major banks use your FICO score, which can be different from the credit scores provided by free providers such as Credit Karma or Borrowell. According to FICO, these are the factors that are used to calculate your FICO score:
About 35% of your FICO score is based on your payment history. Having a history of on-time payments will boost your score in this category. Having a bad track record can decrease your score. The impact that a late or overdue payment will have on your score can depend on the amount of the delinquent payment, the number of payments past due, and the time since these negative events were entered into your credit report.
Using up all of your available credit is a bad sign for creditors. Even if you don't use up all of your credit limits, having a high balance on your accounts compared to your limit can bring down your score. This is based on your credit utilization ratio. You'll want to keep this ratio below 30%. For example, if your credit card has a credit limit of $5,000, then you don't want to carry a balance greater than $1,500. Other factors include the number of accounts that you have with a balance. For example, having ten credit cards with balances can be seen as a negative sign.
A longer credit history is good since it means that your credit history has been established. You'll be less risky than someone who has never had credit before if all other factors are the same. Your credit history will depend on the age of your credit accounts. This can be calculated as the average age of all accounts, or just the age of your oldest account. If you're planning on getting rid of a few credit cards, you might want to hold onto your oldest card. This prevents your credit history from being cut short.
Having different credit types can strengthen your credit score. For example, having a mix of credit cards, a HELOC, mortgage, and student loan shows that you can manage a variety of credit responsibly.
A hard inquiry is done whenever you apply for credit. Having lots of new inquiries shows that you’re applying for credit from lots of different lenders and can be a bad sign. Opening lots of new accounts in a short period of time will also decrease the average age of your accounts, bringing down your credit history and credit score.
Most lenders will use your FICO score instead of the credit score that you are able to access. In fact, CBC News found that 90% of Canadian lenders use your FICO score, which is also known as your beacon score. FICO scores are a type of credit score, but they have special scoring formulas that lenders can use through different FICO versions.
You can’t gain access to your FICO score for free online. That’s why the credit scores provided for free can be a good starting point to see where your financial health is at, but it might not necessarily be the credit score that your lender will use. FICO scores also have slightly different credit score ranges when compared to Equifax and TransUnion.
|Very Good||720 - 799|
|Good||640 - 719|
|Fair||580 - 639|
|Poor||579 or less|