Why and How to Check Your Credit Report for Free

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How to Check Your Credit Report for FreeIt can be pretty scary how much information “they” know about you, but that you don’t know that they know; so why not level the playing field?

I’m talking about checking your credit report. Or more specifically, your credit reports, plural. Did you know that there are two “credit bureaus” in Canada that track your every move financially, compile all of that data into a so-called credit report, and then sell those reports to all sorts of other organizations? It’s completely true. The bureaus are TransUnion and Equifax.

Given that your credit report gets used for so many different things, wouldn’t you want to make sure that it’s correct and as good as it can be?

Pretty much every major bank and loan company (such as credit cards or for car loans) pays either TransUnion and/or Equifax a fee (or likely an ongoing subscription) to access your credit report every time you ask for a loan or other financial product. These organizations also report back to the credit bureaus your payment history and other information about your loans.

But it Doesn’t Stop There…

Many other organizations and individuals also “pull your credit”, such as:

  • Utilities when deciding how much of a deposit to charge you when you set up a new account
  • Cell phone / TV / internet providers when deciding whether to allow you to “post-pay” your account (instead of forcing you to pay in advance)
  • Insurance companies (although I think there are laws restricting what they can and cannot do with your info in these cases)
  • Landlords when deciding whether to rent to you (heck – even I pulled the credit reports for prospective tenants when I was a landlord!)

Given that your credit report gets used for so many different things, wouldn’t you want to make sure that it’s correct and as good as it can be? Today, I’m writing about how to check your reports and make sure that they’re accurate. The other thing to know is that the credit bureaus each have their proprietary method of calculating a “credit score”, which is really just a single number that sums up your entire report. Maybe another day I’ll write about the many ways to improve your credit score, but the simplest and best way to get started is to just make sure that you pay all of your bills and loans on time, every time!

Choices, Choices

To check your credit (called a “consumer disclosure”), you and your significant other each need to check your own credit from each of the two credit bureaus. You have the choice of doing this instantly online for a fee, as well as paying an additional fee for your score, or you can order your report for free and it will arrive through the mail. I definitely recommend the free option, but if you’ve never pulled your credit before, there can be value in paying for your score one time.* The reason you need to check with both TransUnion and Equifax is because they are separate organizations and have separate data; since you have no control over which of the two your lender will check with, you need to ensure that they’re both accurate.

There’s one last thing to mention before we get going here, and that is that both TransUnion and Equifax want you to pay for your reports and all sorts of other stuff, so they make it tricky to find the free option. But persevere and follow these steps to save a few bucks and still get the info you need!

Check Your Credit Report with TransUnion

Head over to https://transunion.ca **, scroll to the very bottom, and then look for the teeny tiny Sitemap link. Click there. Then near the top left you’ll find a link for Consumer Disclosure. Click there and then follow the instructions to obtain your consumer disclosure online, by mail, in person or by phone. As of December 2017, the phone number is 1-800-663-9980 (Prompt 1).

Note that if you select the online option, this is different than if you use the online option from their main page (remember, they try to make this difficult and charge you money!) If the free online or phone options don’t work, then you can just follow the steps for the in-person or mail-in options, although they’re obviously more tedious!

Click here to skip right to step 3 (go to TransUnion.ca now).

Check your credit report with TransUnion Step 1

Check your credit report with TransUnion Step 2

Check your credit report with TransUnion Step 3

Check Your Credit Report with Equifax

You can start at https://www.equifax.ca/ ** because it’s shorter to type, and it will automatically redirect you to https://www.consumer.equifax.ca/home/en_ca . As with TransUnion, they try to make it easy to pay but annoying to get for free. Scroll way down to the bottom right to the Credit Report Assistance section.

If you wish to order by mail, click “Get my free credit file disclosure via Canada Post”. This will take you to a form with instructions on how to fill it out and where to send it.

If you would rather order by phone, click “Contact Us”. A new window will open up, and about half-way down the right hand side you’ll see the phone number to order your free credit report. As of December 2017, the phone number is 1-800-465-7166.

Click here to skip right to step 3 (go to Equifax.ca now).

Check your credit report with Equifax Step 1

Check your credit report with Equifax Step 2

Check your credit report with Equifax Step 3

Finally, if you notice errors on your reports (I have!), then you can choose to address them by following the information packets that come with your reports.

UPDATE: After publishing this post, I was asked if pulling your own credit will affect your credit score. The answer is no, absolutely not. When you check your own credit through the methods described above, it will have no impact on your credit score. In fact, nobody else checking your credit for any other purpose will even know that you’ve checked your own reports. So go ahead and check your reports today!

Pencil with ShadowYour Turn Now!

When did you last pull your credit reports? Are you going to pull them now? If not, why not? What’s holding you back? Do it now, then set yourself up with an annual reminder and let us know!

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* I’ve learned that there are some organizations out there that will provide you with your scores for free, but I haven’t tried them yet, so they’re perhaps for another post.

** You may have noticed that I haven’t put in many hyperlinks to the credit bureaus. For security purposes, I would prefer if you copy-paste the links into your browser so that you know without a doubt that you’re actually going to transunion.ca and equifax.ca . Security breaches regarding your credit information are very serious and can lead to identify theft and fraud, so take precautions to safeguard your data.

Remembering Everyone's Name: My Secret Revealed
Lowdown on the PC Optimum Merger


  1. Trying TransUnion now. Thanks for the tip!

    A suggestion for a future post if I may… tips to avoid “holds” being put on your credit card, which impact your immediate credit. For example, while you can’t avoid a “hold” when you stay at a hotel you can avoid a “hold” by paying for your gas inside the store instead of at the pump*.

    * Except the gas station in Mount Brydges. They always put a ‘hold’ on your card equal to the value of your purchase (so essentially for 2-3 days you’ve paid for your gas twice). You’ve now been warned 🙂

    • Hi Samson – Glad to hear you’re taking this seriously 🙂

      Thanks for the tip on avoiding holds on your credit card. That falls into the same category as buying your big ticket items early in your billing cycle so that you have time to return them before having to actually outlay any cash…

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