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The Best Canadian Credit Monitoring Companies

The 7 Best Canadian Credit Monitoring Companies

Who Provides the Best Credit Monitoring Service for Canadians?

Credit monitoring services have become very popular in recent years. Because financial transactions are increasingly conducted online, the risk of identity theft and fraud is greater now than ever before. Credit monitoring services act as a vigilant guardian against such threats by continuously monitoring credit reports for any suspicious activity.

In Canada, these services help you keep track of your credit information and detect any potential signs of identity theft or fraudulent activity. These services typically provide ongoing monitoring of your credit report and alert you to any significant changes, such as new accounts being opened, inquiries into your credit history, or changes in your credit score.

Sunday, April 14th

2024 Canadian Credit Monitoring Company Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Borrowell Review 5 Star Rating

Borrowell

5 Star Rating
  • 100% free to use
  • Provides weekly Equifax credit score updates and monitoring
  • First to offer free credit scores to Canadians
  • No account needed to access educational resources
  • AI-guided recommendations for improving your credit
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB
  • Over 2 million Canadian subscribers
  • In operation since 2014
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

In the vast landscape of credit monitoring services in Canada, Borrowell stands out as a rising star, earning accolades and building a stellar reputation since its inception in 2014. This fintech company has become a favorite among Canadians, and for good reason. Let's delve into what makes Borrowell a standout choice for those seeking a no-cost credit monitoring solution.

Weekly Equifax score updates

One of Borrowell's standout features is its commitment to providing timely information. While many free credit monitoring services offer monthly updates, Borrowell goes the extra mile by refreshing your Equifax credit score and report on a weekly basis. This frequency sets Borrowell apart, providing its members with a more dynamic and up-to-date view of their financial standing.

Partners with you to improve your credit health

Borrowell not only monitors your credit but also empowers you with knowledge. The platform introduced the concept of free credit scores to Canadians and continues to lead with innovative features. Among them is the AI-powered credit coach (named "Molly" ) - a personalized tool offering insights into your credit score along with tailored tips and articles to help you enhance it. Borrowell doesn't just monitor; it educates and guides you towards financial health.

Lots to learn even before making an account

Curious about Borrowell but not ready to commit to a free account just yet? The platform generously offers a wealth of information on its website, even without signing up. Explore the site and you'll quickly find articles on topics ranging from what constitutes a "good" credit score in Canada to answering questions about building credit by paying rent on time. Borrowell's commitment to financial literacy extends beyond its subscriber base.

Best Canadian Credit Monitoring Companies

Trusted by over 2 million Canadians

Numbers often speak louder than words. Borrowell has earned the trust of over two million Canadians who use it to keep a vigilant eye on their credit reports and gain valuable insights into managing their finances. While Borrowell generates revenue by recommending financial products, there is no obligation for you to sign up for any offerings. It's a testament to Borrowell's credibility that so many Canadians choose it for credit monitoring and financial education.

High praise from members

Borrowell doesn't just promise; it delivers. After ten years in operation, the company has an impressive "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. Positive testimonials highlight Borrowell's success in helping users improve their credit, user-friendly navigation, and a customer service team that's not only friendly but also eager to assist. A solid reputation is an integral part of Borrowell's appeal.

#1 option for credit monitoring in Canada

Borrowell isn't just a credit monitoring service; it's a financial companion committed to your well-being. Whether you're a financial novice or a seasoned pro, Borrowell offers a valuable resource to navigate the intricate world of credit and finances in Canada. It excels in providing essential features, especially for those starting their journey to understand credit scores and enhance their financial health. With a proven track record of assisting millions of Canadians in tracking their credit history and making informed financial decisions, Borrowell continues to earn our highest recommendation among Canadian credit monitoring providers.

ID Shield Review 4.5 Star Rating

ID Shield

4.5 Star Rating
  • Pricing starts at $12.95/month for individuals and $25.95 for families (varies by province/territory)
  • Available throughout Canada
  • Comprehensive identity protection: dark web surveillance, credit monitoring and alerts when unwanted activity is detected, social media scanning, VPN/malware protection, and more
  • Monthly TransUnion credit score tracker
  • Support with credit report errors and disputes
  • 24/7 access in emergencies
  • Unlimited consultations with fraud experts
  • "A+" rated by the BBB

When it comes to safeguarding your identity and credit, ID Shield, a member of the Legal Shield brand family with nearly 50 years of experience, emerges as the top recommendation for paid credit monitoring services.

Comprehensive identity protection, including monthly TransUnion updates

ID Shield offers an all-encompassing identity protection package, including dark web surveillance, credit monitoring with alerts for unwanted activities, social media scanning, and more. Subscribers enjoy an updated-monthly TransUnion credit score tracker, providing regular insights into their credit standing.

Round-the-clock help at the ready

But that's not all. ID Shield provides assistance in rectifying credit report errors and handling disputes effectively. The service ensures 24/7 access during emergencies, providing peace of mind and immediate support when needed. Members also benefit from unlimited consultations with fraud experts, receiving personalized guidance on protecting their privacy and PII online.

Services focused on Canadians

And, ID Shield Canada makes sure to not be just another company that hopped over the southern border without adapting what it offers. ID Shield tailors its services to meet Canadian needs, incorporating features such as address monitoring through the Canada Post Change of Address Database, regular scanning of Canadian public directories, and monitoring of Canadian Medical IDs.

Best Canadian Credit Monitoring Companies

Starts at $12.95/month

What does it cost? While that will depend on where you live, pricing generally starts at $12.95/month for individuals and $25.95 for families (yourself, your spouse, and up to 10 dependent children).

Enthusiastic recommendations from clients

ID Shield has received over 80% 5-star ratings from satisfied customers who praise the quick fraud alerts, friendly representatives, and the service's overall value. The Better Business Bureau mirrors these sentiments, awarding ID Shield an impeccable "A+" rating and accreditation.

Excellent choice for all-around credit monitoring and ID protection

Credit monitoring doesn't have to be complex or costly. ID Shield stands out by offering Canadian consumers top-notch service at affordable prices, making it the best choice for individuals and families alike. With a flawless reputation and positive customer feedback, ID Shield earns our hearty recommendation among credit monitoring providers in Canada.

Equifax Canada Review 3.5 Star Rating

Equifax Canada

3.5 Star Rating
  • $24.95/month for 1 adult, $34.95/month for 2 adults
  • Daily access to your Equifax credit score
  • Receive alerts when critical changes to your report are detected
  • Up to $1M in identity theft insurance (some restrictions for residents of Quebec)
  • "A+" rated by the BBB

Thinking of going directly to one of the credit bureaus for monitoring services? Equifax is likely a better choice than TransUnion. Both bureaus employ distinct algorithms for credit score calculations, but Equifax's approach to credit monitoring services has some distinctive features that set it apart.

Daily credit score updates

Equifax provides subscribers with daily access to their credit scores. While daily monitoring might be more than what most people need, the option is available for those interested in staying constantly informed.

$24.95/month for individuals, $34.95/month for a pair

Equifax Complete Premier, priced at $24.95 per month, offers real-time alerts when significant changes occur in your credit report. This feature enables quick intervention in case of any fraudulent attempts to use your credit. Also, Equifax offers the Equifax Complete Friends and Family plan for two adults at $34.95 per month, providing comprehensive coverage for couples (or roommates, friends, siblings - your call).

Monitoring + ID theft protection

Either plan package encompasses both credit monitoring and identity theft protection. It includes features such as lost wallet assistance, up to $1M in identity theft insurance (different terms apply for Quebec residents, so see the site for details if this applies to you), and internet scanning to detect unauthorized use of personal account numbers.

Best Canadian Credit Monitoring Companies

Cancel at any time

We like that this company doesn't require a long-term commitment for its credit monitoring subscriptions. You have the flexibility to cancel at any time, although there won't be a refund for any remaining partial month on your account.

Mostly positive reputation

Reputation-wise, Equifax gets mixed results. On the one hand, the company has been in operation for over 100 years and gets an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau (which is more than can be said for its rival credit bureau). And yes, it's true that consumers nationwide like to complain about credit bureaus in general: credit is a delicate subject, and mistakes or problems with reporting can have long-lasting consequences. But, even taking those kinds of complaints into account and just looking for comments on the subscription itself, we were underwhelmed by what we found. Some people had issues with getting their plan cancelled, and others felt tricked into subscribing in the first place.

Good-but-not-great credit monitoring

Equifax only rates as slightly above average for their credit monitoring services. They don't come cheap, and Canadians aren't exactly racing to offer their praise for the value of the subscription. But, with options out there that are downright fraudulent, you can at least trust that Equifax has been around long enough to not be a scam (even if you do have a hard time stopping the monthly charges when you're ready to quit). Keep Equifax in mind as a backup choice if our top services can't offer what you're looking for.

Credit Karma Review 3 Star Rating

Credit Karma

3 Star Rating
  • Free to use
  • Daily updates of your TransUnion credit score
  • Alerts sent when critical changes are detected
  • Available throughout Canada (with the exceptions of Quebec, Nunavut, Yukon Territory, Northwest Territory)
  • Over 1,600 five-star reviews on Trustpilot

With over 60 million users across Canada and the US, Credit Karma has become a go-to platform for obtaining free credit scores and reports. Operating since 2007, this service not only provides valuable credit information but also aims to empower individuals with the financial education needed to navigate their credit landscape with confidence.

No cost to use

Signing up for a Credit Karma account is straightforward and free, although identity verification is required, either through your Social Insurance Number (SIN) or by answering additional verification questions. Credit Karma offers users a complimentary TransUnion credit score and report, updated on a daily basis. This frequency provides regular insights into your credit standing. Additionally, the platform extends beyond simple credit monitoring, offering financial education resources and product offers.

4 categories of monitoring alerts

We're also happy to note that, since our last review, Credit Karma has upgraded its service to include Credit Protect (also complimentary). Previously, you had to sign into your CK account to check for any updates; now, you'll be alerted of any significant changes. These alerts are broken down into four categories: Identity (new name, new phone, new employer, new address, or identity verification), Accounts (new account, account improving or deteriorating, new registered item), Credit Checks (new hard or soft inquiry), and Legal (new insolvency record, new collection, new legal item).

Best Canadian Credit Monitoring Companies

Not exactly focused on Canadians

But, while Credit Karma enjoys widespread use, it appears to be designed primarily for the US market, with Canadian users potentially feeling like an afterthought. As the no-fee credit monitoring arena in Canada gains momentum, Credit Karma faces competition from services that prioritize Canadians at the core of their offerings.

Availability isn't nationwide

One example of this is Credit Karma's limited scope: you can't access this credit monitoring option if you live in Quebec, Nunavut, or the Northwest and Yukon Territories. This detail is still hard to find on the site: some prospective members might not even realize that they're not eligible for Credit Karma's services until they try to sign up and are declined.

Company as a whole has had some issues

We're also not thrilled with Credit Karma's decline in reputation with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB has dropped Credit Karma from a flawless "A+" to a bottom-of-the-barrel "F" since our last evaluation. Why? There were over 2,400 complaints filed with the BBB in the most recent three-year period, and in 2022, Credit Karma settled a $3M lawsuit brought by the US Federal Trade Commission that alleged that the company had knowingly told unqualified consumers that they would be eligible for third-party financial products.

Best Canadian Credit Monitoring Companies

Canadian clients are very satisfied

On the other hand, looking at the comments on Trustpilot that were left specifically for the Canadian arm of Credit Karma, the picture is much rosier. Out of 2,200+ reviews, Credit Karma Canada earned an average of 4.6 stars. Consumers say that the service (especially the app) has been essential in helping them monitor and even improve their credit score, qualify for loans and credit cards, and feel confident that they're on the right track.

Not the best or the worst for credit monitoring

At the end of the day, all of this lands Credit Karma Canada with a "just average" rating here. The company has experienced some ups (like expanding their services to be more robust with notification of alerts) and downs (such as the absolute tanking of their BBB grade). The fact is, there are other credit monitoring options in Canada that do what Credit Karma does... but better. And, many of those are free as well. We'd recommend looking at the top services in our evaluation first; circle back to Credit Karma if you don't find what you need there.

TransUnion Canada Review 2 Star Rating

TransUnion Canada

2 Star Rating
  • $24.95/month
  • Unlimited access to TransUnion credit report and score
  • Alerts you to key credit report changes
  • Personalized credit and debit analysis
  • ID restoration services with up to $1M in expense reimbursement insurance

When it comes to tracking consumer credit scores in Canada, TransUnion stands alongside Equifax as one of the two major credit bureaus. While both provide similar credit information, each utilizes distinct formulas to calculate your credit score, leading some lenders to favor one bureau over the other.

Robust features included in your $24.95/month fee

TransUnion's credit monitoring service, priced at $24.95 per month, includes unlimited access to your TransUnion credit report and score. The package also incorporates alerts for significant credit report changes to aid in identifying potential identity theft, personalized credit and debt analysis based on your unique financial situation, and a substantial $1M in expense reimbursement insurance if you're the victim of identity theft.

Disappointed clients and low BBB grade

However, TransUnion falls short compared to Equifax, primarily due to its disappointing reputation reflected in an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau. Almost 150 complaints filed against TransUnion at the BBB, predominantly related to credit monitoring subscriptions, raise concerns about the company's practices. Many customers felt misled into paying for a monthly plan when their intention was solely to access their credit report. Additionally, numerous users reported difficulties in cancelling their TransUnion membership upon request.

Best Canadian Credit Monitoring Companies

Missing some features

Another drawback is the lack of transparency regarding the full extent of TransUnion's credit monitoring service. While the $24.95/month subscription promises unlimited access to credit reports and scores, alerts for potential identity fraud, and credit analysis, crucial features you'll typically find with a paid credit monitoring service, such as internet scanning, lost wallet assistance, or bank and credit account monitoring, aren't even mentioned by TransUnion.

Expensive for what you get (or don't get)

Considering the challenges reported by subscribers in cancelling their memberships and the overall lack of transparency, TransUnion may not offer sufficient value for the monthly fee, especially when compared to other credit monitoring options. The absence of detailed information about the extent of services, coupled with a disappointing BBB rating, leaves us with questions about the reliability of TransUnion's credit monitoring.

Get your TransUnion score elsewhere

If your priority is accessing credit scores through both bureaus with minimal hassle, look at setting up accounts on a combination of platforms - both free and paid - that provide the needed information without the difficulties frequently associated with TransUnion. Ultimately, transparency and ease of use should be a given when selecting a credit monitoring service, and TransUnion falls short on these fronts.

KOHO Review 1.5 Star Rating

KOHO

1.5 Star Rating
  • Free credit score within 30-day trial period (and after subscribing)
  • Primarily a banking and credit-building service
  • Available throughout Canada

KOHO is a Canadian financial technology company that offers a mobile banking and financial management platform. KOHO provides users with a prepaid Visa card and a mobile app, allowing them to manage their finances, make purchases, and track their spending. Subscribers can set savings goals, receive real-time insights into their spending habits, and enjoy features like cashback rewards on purchases.

Credit score checking only (no monitoring)

When it comes specifically to credit monitoring, KOHO is extremely limited. You can check your credit score for free on a KOHO 30-day trial, but after that you'll be subscribed to whichever plan you choose when you create your account. These accounts don't come with any monitoring features: no alerts, no updates, nada.

Focuses on building credit

You can use KOHO to build your credit, though. This is done either through a KOHO line of credit, a secured line of credit, or both. The company proudly states that the average user sees a score increase of around 22 points after using the credit-building feature for just three months. With either plan, you'll be connected with a Financial Coach to help you stay on track.

Best Canadian Credit Monitoring Companies

Too many unhappy clients

But, the real question is, will it be a good idea to use KOHO? It's obvious that it's got almost nothing novel to offer with respect to credit monitoring (since you can get your score for free in plenty of other places). And, unfortunately, KOHO has a lot of unhappy customers who've used their financial services - so much so that the Better Business Bureau had to list the company as "Not Rated" while they went back to evaluate complaints that were previously closed. And there are a lot of those: over 350 filed with the BBB in the last three years, plus 1-star ratings on Trustpilot amounting to 85% of their total. It's pretty sobering to read comments like "KOHO's credit building service ruined my credit" and "I've been a customer for six years and every year just got worse" .

Customer service is awful

And, don't expect quick help if you have a problem: despite promising resolutions within 1-2 business days, it's not uncommon for KOHO to let their customers go a month or longer without getting help, a new credit card, or answers on why their account was suddenly closed (and where the money went when KOHO did that).

Don't bother with KOHO

Save yourself some time and skip KOHO. If you're searching for a credit monitoring service, you won't find it here. And if all you need is a quick (free) check of your credit score, there are lots of options out there that won't rope you into a subscription a month down the road. KOHO is just a bad idea all around.

Credit Verify Review 1 Star Rating

Credit Verify

1 Star Rating
  • $1 for a 7-day trial, $34.95/month thereafter
  • Daily monitoring of TransUnion credit profile
  • Provides information on disputing errors/fraud on credit report
  • Real-time credit score simulator
  • $25 in monthly "reward dollars"
  • Available to residents of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, PEI, and Saskatchewan

At first glance, Credit Verify seems like a comprehensive option for credit monitoring in Canada, offering daily checks on your TransUnion credit score, alerts for suspicious activities, guidance for credit history errors, and the enticing perk of "reward dollars" that can be redeemed for discounts. However, diving deeper into the service reveals some concerning aspects that should make you reconsider its appeal.

Daily TransUnion updates if you live in their service area

Credit Verify's offerings include daily TransUnion credit monitoring, fraud and reporting error guidance, monthly "reward dollars," and a real-time credit score simulator. But, it's crucial to note early on that the service is currently limited to residents of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan.

You'll pay $1 to try it for a week

To test Credit Verify, you'll need to invest $1 in a 7-day trial, which then automatically transitions into a $34.95 per month membership plan. This approach is different from the norm, where many credit tracking services provide either free features or a jump-right-in paid subscription. This initial paywall at Credit Verify might be a deterrent for those seeking a commitment-free trial.

Best Canadian Credit Monitoring Companies

Often described as a scam

Despite its seemingly robust features, Credit Verify suffers from a tarnished reputation, particularly under its parent company, Credique LLC. Even though the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has upgraded the company to a "B-" grade (up from a "D" at the time of our last evaluation), we continue to see scary feedback from consumers across Canada. In fact, we didn't find a single review from a subscriber thrilled with the Credit Verify service. The word most commonly used to describe the experience here is "scam" . Not a good sign. Many people express frustration with the toll-free number provided for subscription cancellation being out of service (especially since the only way you can cancel that $34.95/month is via phone or regular post).

You may wind up subscribed here after applying somewhere else

A number of Canadians found themselves inadvertently subscribed to Credit Verify during the application process elsewhere (for a loan or other credit product, not even on the Credit Verify website) and were billed hundreds of dollars before they realized it. The refund offered? Often just $34.95, and almost always less than the total amount charged. Imagine having to dispute your credit monitoring service... with your credit card company. That's the reality for a lot of Credit Verify members, unfortunately.

Canada's lowest-ranked option for credit monitoring

Given these concerns, it's obvious that there are more reliable avenues for credit monitoring in Canada. Whether you want to work with credit bureau services directly or choose a reputable third-party platform, there are alternatives that prioritize your peace of mind. Your credit history is too vital to be entrusted to a monitoring service with a questionable track record, and Credit Verify's numerous issues make it plain that it's not a trustworthy option. Explore the higher-ranked services in our review for a more hassle-free and transparent credit monitoring experience.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

Manually reviewing credit reports and scoring systems can be daunting for the average person to navigate. Credit monitoring services simplify this process by providing easy-to-understand analyses and explanations of credit reports and scores. By demystifying financial jargon and offering insights into creditworthiness, these services empower individuals to make informed decisions about their finances.

The increasing prevalence of data breaches and cyberattacks targeting personal information has made many people more aware of the importance of data security. Credit monitoring services often include features such as identity theft insurance and dark web monitoring. These features further enhance their appeal by providing comprehensive protection against various threats to personal and financial security.

Several credit monitoring options operate in Canada, offering various features and levels of protection. Some of the key players include Equifax and TransUnion, which are the two major credit reporting agencies nationwide. In addition to these credit bureaus, there are also third-party services that offer comprehensive credit monitoring, identity theft protection, and other related features.

However, not all services are created equal. It's one thing if you just want an updated credit score every year (after all, you can get that for free from the credit bureaus), but another thing entirely if you want your service to be actively tracking what's going on with your credit profile. You may even be surprised to see that some free credit monitoring options provide more features than their paid counterparts.

Not sure what you want? Here are some key features that may appeal to you; take a look and see which ones are a must-have, and choose your credit monitoring service accordingly:

  • Credit score monitoring. This is the most basic feature that should be included in any service you choose. But, be sure you understand which credit bureaus are tracked: is it Equifax Canada or TransUnion (or both)? The more inclusive the service, the better informed you'll be. Also, check out how often your credit score will be updated: daily, weekly, or monthly?
  • Early detection of suspicious activity. Credit monitoring services can alert you to any unusual or suspicious activity on your credit report, allowing you to take swift action if unauthorized changes or transactions occur.
  • Identity theft protection. Will the service you're considering contact you if there's an attempt to open a new account or misuse your credit information (to rent an apartment, for example)?
  • Personal finance management. Some services offer additional tools and resources to help users manage their finances more effectively, such as budgeting tools and credit score simulators.

To give you an overview of the credit monitoring landscape in Canada, the experts at Top Consumer Reviews have evaluated and ranked today's most popular services. Whether you're just looking for a basic, free option to watch over your credit score or a robust monitoring platform, use our research to choose the service that's the right fit for you!

The Best Canadian Credit Monitoring Companies Compare Canadian Credit Monitoring Companies Compare Canadian Credit Monitoring Company Reviews What are the best Canadian Credit Monitoring Companies Best Canadian Credit Monitoring Company Reviews

Canadian Credit Monitoring Company FAQ

Credit monitoring can mean two things: getting your credit score and report, or tracking inquiries made on your credit report with the intention of spotting fraud or identity theft. When you see services offering "credit monitoring" , most free platforms in Canada only offer you access to your credit score/report, while paid providers include tracking of your credit report and insurance against identity theft.
In Canada, there are two bureaus responsible for reporting consumer credit: Equifax and TransUnion. Each bureau uses different methods of calculating your credit score; some lenders and creditors prefer one over the other.
It might, depending on which service you select. Some free credit monitoring platforms in Canada give you access to your credit score and history, but you're responsible for looking for errors and fixing any problems you find. Paid services almost always monitor your account for any suspicious activity, help you freeze your accounts, and often include restoration specialists to guide you through the process of recovering your identity. You may even have identity theft insurance included in your paid package.
Some credit monitoring services in Canada are absolutely free. Most paid credit monitoring services cost between $11 and $30 per month, depending on the level of service you select and how many people you're covering (an individual vs. a couple or household).
Not necessarily. Your bank probably gives you access to your credit score when you sign into your account, but not a copy of your credit report. Plus, your bank doesn't have access to your credit cards, loans, or other creditors' information; they won't be able to spot fraudulent activity on any accounts outside of their institution.
If you use your monitoring service well, yes. Even with a no-fee credit monitoring platform, you can keep an eye on your credit score and act quickly if you notice anything out of the ordinary. Also, almost every credit monitoring service includes ample financial education, to help you understand money even better and to make good decisions for a healthy credit report.
Contact the company that is reporting the inaccurate information. It could be a simple administrative mistake. However, if you suspect that it's fraud, you should contact Equifax and TransUnion to inform them and ask that a fraud alert be placed on your credit reports. You should also report the fraud to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre, and contact any lenders or other organizations that might be affected by the breach.
It's worth considering. Identity thieves often target children's information, because they can often use it for many years before being caught. Some credit monitoring programs in Canada offer discounted pricing for family plans.

Why Should You Check Your Credit Report?

Would you go for months without checking the balance of your bank account? Would you ignore reviewing your monthly credit card statement under the assumption that all the charges on it were valid? Chances are, if you're like most people, you wouldn't.

The same rule applies to your credit report. It should be reviewed at least once annually, and ideally 3 times a year or more, to make sure everything is in order.

What, exactly, is a credit report? It is the compilation of an individual's financial history, from their first bank account to their latest credit card, it's all in there. The history of where a person has taken out credit - as well as whether they've been able to pay on time or are chronically late with repaying their debts - is all included in one handy document. Financial brokers, credit card companies, potential employers and any creditor with whom you wish to do business has the right to view you credit history.

Credit history also is used to assign a credit score to each individual. The score is calculated through a mathematical algorithm, which pulls data from the credit report and generates a three-digit number. Credit scores range from 300 to 850. Persons with scores over 700 are considered to be in good financial standing and rarely are turned down by creditors. They also are able to secure the best interest rates on loans.

Knowing your credit score, as well as how it can affect your everyday life, is a valuable tool for all consumers. Credit histories and credit scores are used to determine credit-worthiness by credit card companies, cell phone providers, utility companies and even landlords and insurance companies. Having a bad credit report can have lifelong consequences for the consumer.

Credit reports are issued through three major reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Each of the three agencies compiles its own report on individual consumers, and each report may vary slightly from the others.

There are many reasons why consumers should make a habit of viewing their credit reports:

  • Accuracy. While the three credit reporting agencies do their best to collect accurate information on each consumer, they are not infallible and can include incorrect data in your report. If there is another individual with a name similar to yours, it is possible for the credit agencies to confuse their data with yours, and erroneously include information about the other person in your report.
  • Identity Theft. Reviewing your credit report annually is a great way to make sure you are not the victim of identity theft. Credit reports contain accounts opened in your name using your social security number, address and date of birth. It is one of the best ways to find out if someone is using your information to open new accounts and run up debt.
  • Loan Worthiness. If you are about to attempt to secure a loan for a large purchase, such as a home or a car, it is a good idea to check your credit report prior to applying. Not only will it allow you to see what the lender is seeing prior to approving/rejecting your loan application, but it also will give you the opportunity to make sure all data is correct prior to someone else viewing it.
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