Credit Reports: How to Get Yours for Free & Make Corrections

August 22, 2012

Before applying for a mortgage check your credit to verify that your personal information is up to date, your financial information is correct and ensure that you aren’t the victim of fraud.

There are two credit reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion, and because the two agencies don’t share information it’s advisable to check both reports yearly.
Getting Your Credit Report
By Mail – Did you know that if you request your credit report by mail it is free? If you send a mailed in request including two pieces of government issued I.D. the credit agencies will snail mail you back a copy of your credit report at no cost. I’ve included the mailing addresses below.

By Internet – For those of us who can’t wait you can always order your credit report online through Equifax or TransUnion’s website. There is a fee of course but within a few seconds you will have your report in hand as an electronic copy.
Getting Your Credit Score

Getting a credit report lets you make sure everything is in order. If you are preparing to apply for a mortgage you want to see your credit score. The only way to get your credit score is online. The cost of obtaining your credit score is a bit higher than getting just your credit report but it also includes the report. You will receive your credit score (and credit report) online a few minutes after you have make the request.
What You Should Do If You Find A Mistake?
Mistakes do happen and they can be an unnecessary hassle especially when you decide that you want to apply for a mortgage. If you spot a mistake or believe that something was reported incorrectly there is a two step process to effectively get the mistake corrected.

  1. Contact The Credit Reporting Agency – The credit reporting agency will make note of your request and contact the financial institution that provided the information. If the financial institution acknowledges there was a mistake the credit bureau has 30 days to make a correction. If the financial institution doesn’t agree with the correction and you are still not satisfied you can submit a brief statement to the reporting agency who will add it to your report.
  2. Contact Your Financial Institution – To avoid any delays in getting errors corrected it’s a good idea to also contact the financial institution that made the error and ask them to follow up with the credit reporting agency. If the error came from your financial institution and the institution will not correct the error, ask for information on its complaint-handling process. Financial institutions that are regulated by the Government of Canada are required, by law, to have a process in place to resolve disputes between consumers and financial institutions.
Mailing addresses and contact information:
Equifax Canada
National Consumer Relations
P.O. box 190, Station Jean-Talon,
Montreal, Quebec  H1S 2Z2
Tel. (toll-free): 1-800-465-7166
Fax: 514-355-8502
Web site: www.equifax.ca

TransUnion Canada
All provinces except Quebec:
Consumer Relations Centre
P.O. Box 338 LCD 1
Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 7W2
Tel. (toll-free): 1-866-525-0262
Fax: 905-527-0401
I hope you found this information useful and can put it into good practice by checking your credit report. If you are shopping for a mortgage or thinking of buying sign up for my free updates to receive information for first time home buyers.

Profile

Christopher Molder

Mortgage Broker

Christopher is a mortgage broker based in Toronto, Canada. And a son of a broker too. He’s a second generation mortgage broker. Following in his father’s steps he joined the family mortgage business straight out of university.