Check your credit history

Friday, February 26th, 2010


If you want to borrow money to buy a home, car or any other big-ticket item, you will need to have a credit history before the financial institution will lend you money. Your credit history (called a credit report) is held by the major credit-reporting agencies: Equifax and TransUnion. Your credit report is one of the main tools lenders use when they decide whether or not to lend you money.

Your credit report contains the following information:

– Personal information such as your name, address, social insurance number, employers, date of birth and telephone number.

– Information related to any loans you have, such as a credit card, mortgage or secured or unsecured loan.

– Your payment history, including bad loans and late payments.

– Banking information about your various accounts, including any bad cheques you may have   written.

– Public records such as a bankruptcy or judgment from a lawsuit.

– Any people or organizations that have inquired about your credit.

Once you start borrowing and have a credit file opened, it is important to regularly ensure that your credit report is correct. You can check by phone, fax, email, mail or Internet. There is a fee if you check online but you can get your report for free by using the mail.

When you get your report, look closely at the data from the credit reporting agency to see that it is correct. Watch for:

– Wrong mailing addresses.

– Incorrect social insurance number.

– Signs of identity theft.

– Errors in your credit accounts.

– Late payments.

– Unauthorized inquiries.

You have a right to correct any errors you find. The correction process, as well as instructions on ordering your credit report, can be found on the agencies’ websites at and

Terri Williams, CFP, is vice president, editorial services and production, with DundeeWealth .

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