Who Can Access Your Credit Report Or Score
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With lots of personal data available online, you might suspect that your credit history is accessible to anyone with a slight aptitude for Google search. Although you arent the only person who can see your credit scores and reports, you can feel secure in knowing that this financial information is given only to those who legitimately need it.
That said, your credit can be checked in many situations when you apply for a loan or credit card, a job, utilities, student loans and more. Monitoring your own credit helps you watch out for trouble and build your profile.
It Can Affect Your Finances
Financial institutions look at your credit report and credit score to decide if they will lend you money. They also use them to determine how much interest they will charge you to borrow money.
If you have no credit history or a poor credit history, it could be harder for you to get a credit card, loan or mortgage. It could even affect your ability to rent a house or apartment or get hired for a job.
If you have good credit history, you may be able to get a lower interest rate on loans. This can save you a lot of money over time.
How Does A Credit Score Work
Your credit score is a number related to your credit history. If your credit score is high, your credit is good. If your credit score is low, your credit is bad.
There are different credit scores. Each credit reporting company creates a credit score. Other companies create scores, too. The range is different, but it usually goes from about 300 to 850 .
It costs money to look at your credit score. Sometimes a company might say the score is free. But usually there is a cost.
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Summary Of Moneys Guide On How To Get Your Credit Report
- AnnualCreditReport.com is the best place to start to get your free credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion all in one spot.
- Because of the pandemic, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are all offering free weekly credit reports also available through AnnualCreditReport.com until April 20, 2022.
- If you have exhausted all of your free credit reports from the major bureaus, you may contact them directly to purchase additional reports. They legally cant charge you more than $13 per report.
- While Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are the most popular credit bureaus, theyre not the only places to provide credit reports. According to the CFPB, you are also eligible for free annual credit reports from dozens of other credit-reporting agencies, most of which specialize in a niche credit topic.
Chris Huntley contributed to this article.
Financial Information In Your Credit Report
Your credit report may contain:
- non-sufficient funds payments, or bad cheques
- chequing and savings accounts closed for cause due to money owing or fraud committed
- bankruptcy or a court decision against you that relates to credit
- debts sent to collection agencies
- inquiries from lenders and others who have requested your credit report in the past three years
- registered items, such as a car lien, that allows the lender to seize it if you don’t pay
- remarks including consumer statements, fraud alerts and identity verification alerts
Your credit report contains factual information about your credit cards and loans, such as:
- when you opened your account
- how much you owe
- if your debt has been transferred to a collection agency
- if you go over your credit limit
- personal information that is available in public records, such as a bankruptcy
Your credit report can also include chequing and savings accounts that are closed for cause. These include accounts closed due to money owing or fraud committed by the account holder.
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Soft Inquiries And Hard Inquiries
Not all are the same: there are hard inquiries and soft inquiries.
Hard inquiries occur when a potential lender pulls your credit report to make a decision on an application. This will occur when you apply for a credit card or loan. Hard inquiries can show up on your credit report and lower your credit score temporarily, though the long-term damage is minimal. Its a good idea to not initiate too many hard inquiries in a short period of time. Hard inquiries generally only take place with your permission.
Soft inquiries usually occur when your credit report is pulled as part of a background check. This will occur when you are preapproved for a loan or a potential employer is checking your credit. These inquiries may or may not occur with your permission, but they dont affect your credit score.
To help keep you on top of your credit scores and reports, consider signing up for identity theft and credit protection. A service like this can keep on top of your scores while providing 24/7 monitoring protection.
Who Cannot Look At Your Credit Report
Apart from those listed above, most other people and businesses cannot legally request a copy of your credit report. For example, your credit report may not be used in divorce, child custody, immigration, and other legal proceedings. Nor can district attorneys look at your report to investigate civil or criminal cases.
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Why Do I Have A Credit Report
Businesses want to know about you before they lend you money. Would you want to lend money to someone who pays bills on time? Or to someone who always pays late?
Businesses look at your credit report to learn about you. They decide if they want to lend you money, or give you a credit card. Sometimes, employers look at your credit report when you apply for a job. Cell phone companies and insurance companies look at your credit report, too.
What Goes Into A Credit Score
Each company has its own way to calculate your credit score. They look at:
- how many loans and credit cards you have
- how much money you owe
- how long you have had credit
- how much new credit you have
They look at the information in your credit report and give it a number. That is your credit score.
It is very important to know what is in your credit report. If your report is good, your score will be good. You can decide if it is worth paying money to see what number someone gives your credit history.
Your credit history is important. It tells businesses how you pay your bills. Those businesses then decide if they want to give you a credit card, a job, an apartment, a loan, or insurance.
Find out what is in your report. Be sure the information is correct. Fix anything that is not correct.
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How To Interpret Your Credit Score
What is a good credit score in Canada? A credit score is made up of a three-digit number ranging from 300 to 900. The higher your teens number, the better.
|800 to 900||You probably have very few late payments in your credit report, you pay off credit card balances in full, and you have a low ratio for the credit you use against the credit available. You should get quick approval on loan applications and be able to get the lowest interest rates available.|
|740 to 799||You rarely make late payments, and you probably have a low ratio of credit used compared to whats available to you. You should get low interest rates on loans and qualify for most of the premium credit cards available.|
|670 to 739||You may have made multiple late payments to more than one lender, and you may have defaulted on a loan. You should still qualify for some unsecured credit cards, but you will probably have to pay higher interest rates to lenders.|
|580 to 669||You have a below-average credit score, so youre looking at higher interest rates for any credit approvals. You probably wont be eligible for the best cash-back and rewards credit cards.|
|300 to 579||You may have defaulted on multiple loans, have a high ratio of credit used compared to credit available, or have declared bankruptcy. Youll have a hard time getting a loan or credit card without paying a high interest rate.|
What Should I Do When I Get My Credit Report
Your credit report has a lot of information. Check to see if the information is correct. Is it your name and address? Do you recognize the accounts listed?
If there is wrong information in your report, try to fix it. You can write to the credit reporting company. Ask them to change the information that is wrong. You might need to send proof that the information is wrong for example, a copy of a bill that shows the correct information. The credit reporting company must check it out and write back to you.
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Do Credit Inquiries Hurt Your Credit
The short answer to this question is yes: credit inquiries do hurt your credit score. But a single inquiry only has a nominal effect, usually around five points. This isnt enough to impact your credit scores in a major way, so in many cases, its not something to worry about.
If youve been shopping around for rates for a specific product, like a mortgage or car loan, those inquiries are typically treated as one as long as they happened within a few weeks of each other. But if youve been applying for loads of credit cards throughout the year, those small dings can add up.
Maybe you need access to credit, or perhaps you like to play the credit card signup bonus game. The point is, be cognizant of how those actions look on your credit report.
Each hard inquiry hurts your credit score for a year and remains listed there for a full two years. If you apply for ten credit cards a year, that can drop your credit score by as much as 50 points or more. That can make a big difference when it comes time to apply for a major loan.
What Can Lenders See On Your Credit Report
Your creditreport provides a detailed summary of your credit history. It includes your personal information and lists details on your past and current credit accounts. It also documents each time you or a lender requests your credit report, as well as instances where your accounts have been passed on to a collection agency. Financial issues that are part of the public record, such as bankruptcies and foreclosures, are included, too.
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How To Check Your Credit Report
Its best practice to frequently check your credit reports, which serve as a kind of financial resume outlining all of your money matters. Credit reports can help you keep track of your debts and check for signs of identity theft.
Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act , you can always request one free credit report a year from each of the three big credit bureaus Experian, Equifax and TransUnion online at AnnualCreditReport.com. The three credit bureaus typically charge for each additional report beyond the free annual one, but because of the pandemic, youre now allowed to pull a credit report for free each week until April 20, 2022.
Heres everything you need to know about getting your credit reports.
What Is Credit Monitoring
Canadas credit bureaus, as well as many credit card issuers and financial institutions, offer credit monitoring services. These services provide you with a notification after certain updates to your credit file, such as a credit inquiry.
You could consider using this service if you think youve been the victim of fraud or if you have been affected by a data breach. This can help you see if somebody is trying to apply for credit in your name.
You usually need to pay for these services.
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Why Your Free Credit Scores From Equifax And Transunion May Be Different
You may think that your VantageScore 3.0 credit scores from Equifax and TransUnion should be the same, but thats not always the case.
Remember, VantageScore 3.0 is ultimately just a scoring model. The three-digit number it produces depends largely on the information that lenders report to each credit bureau.
When credit scores that use the same model differ between credit reporting bureaus, its typically because they dont have the same information. Here are a few of the reasons you might see different credit scores.
- Your scores are from different dates. Different bureaus receive information from lenders at different times. If new information is accounted for in one credit score and not the other, the scores may differ.
- Your scores are calculated using different credit reports. Its up to lenders to decide which credit bureaus they report your information two. Some report to all three major credit bureaus, while others report to only one or two. If your Equifax credit report has information that your TransUnion report doesnt , your scores may differ.
- Your credit reports contain incorrect information. Its possible that one or several of your credit reports contain errors. Thats why we recommend regularly checking your credit reports for errors that may affect your scores anddisputing those errors, if need be.
Whats The Difference Between A Credit Report And A Credit Score
Although they are interconnected, your credit report and credit score are separate.
Your credit report contains information about your credit accounts, including any balances you owe and your payment history. Your , on the other hand, is a three-digit number that usually ranges from 300 to 850. Credit scoring models, such as FICO, use the information listed in your credit reports to calculate your score.
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Why You Could Have Different Credit Reports From Different Bureaus
The credit bureaus can only report on the information thats provided to them. Since lenders are not required to report to all three major credit bureaus, you might find information about certain accounts on one credit report, but not others.
Even when lenders do report information to all three major bureaus, they may report that information at different times. Given all the credit information included in a typical credit report, its perfectly normal to observe some minor differences between your credit reports.
Mistakes do happen from time to time. If you think your credit reports are different due to legitimate errors, you can dispute those errors with each credit bureau.
What Is The Best Way For A Teenager To Build Credit
The best way your teen can improve and build their credit score is by paying back their loans, as their payment history will be the biggest factor in credit score ratings. If paying bills on time is something your teen struggles with, have them set up electronic reminders so they can make those payments on time. To improve their credit score more quickly, they should focus on any past due accounts.
If they cant pay the full amount on their credit card balance at the end of the month, they should at the very least pay the minimum amount owed. Advise them not to go over their credit limit. A good rule of thumb is to use less than 30 per cent of the available credit, as its better to have a higher credit limit and use less of it each month.
Lastly, tell them to limit their credit applications. If there are too many credit checks in their credit report, lenders may think that theyre desperate for money or trying to live beyond their means.
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What Your Credit Report Will Tell You
Your credit report contains identifying information, credit history information and public records. For example, your report may include:
- Identifying information Including your name, date of birth, current and previous addresses and telephone numbers, social insurance number, and employment information.
- Listing of your credit accounts and transactions, debt sent to collections, banking information, and a list of parties requesting your credit information.
- Public records Listing of items that could affect your ability to obtain credit, such as filing for bankruptcy and court judgements.
Learn more about what is included in your credit report.
What Can I Do To Keep Someone From Getting My Credit Report
Be vigilant and make sure to check your credit often so you know who is viewing your credit reports. This can help you keep track of your credit applications and can also protect you from fraud, as a new hard inquiry could indicate that a fraudster tried to open an account in your name.
Make sure you read all the fine print when applying for products or services and when inquiring about new credit. It may be unclear when a hard inquiry will be recorded as a result of an application or request, so it’s helpful to read carefully to make sure you’re not racking up inquiries without knowing it.
If you’re not sure who has checked your credit it the past two years, get a free copy of your credit report from Experian to see what appears. You can also check out Experian’s CreditWorksSM product to learn how you can periodically monitor your credit file and be alerted when changes occur in your credit file.