At least two of the banks I deal with offer a free way to check my credit online.
I say at least because I have accounts with many banks and haven’t visited them all lately. But if I want to check my credit, I know I have a few go-to places. What about you?
Your credit score is becoming increasingly important as an indicator of how you are managing not only your debt, but your life as well. Of course, lenders will check your creditworthiness. Landlords can also take a look, as can insurance companies and potential employers.
Given the importance of your credit score, it’s important to see where you stand at least once a year. For ideas on where to find your score for free, I asked people in my Twitter community What they do. Check out the answers for a wide range of options including:
- Banking websites and mobile apps: Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Royal Bank of Canada are among the banks offering access to credit scores.
- Equifax: This credit monitoring company offers free access to your credit score.
- Borrowell: An online marketplace for loans and other financial products.
- Credit Karma: Matches you to financial products and earns referral fees.
- Verified.Me: A service provided by Interac to help you verify your identity online; Toronto-Dominion Bank provides access to credit scores through this channel.
Credit scores range from 300 to 900, with 760 and above being considered excellent. Between 660 and 724 are considered good, while 725 to 759 are very good.
Use the credit ratings that you receive free of charge as a rough guide for your credit report. Lenders and others can access slightly different numbers by connecting to Equifax and TransUnion, the other major credit monitoring company in Canada.
Checking your credit score online is considered a “soft request,” meaning it doesn’t affect your credit rating. A “tough request” where a lender assesses you as a customer is a different story. Your credit score could go down if you have multiple tough requests.
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Rob’s Personal Finance Reading List
A History of Mortgage Rates
Useful perspective here on how mortgage rates compare to house prices in the 1980s, 2010s and today. Prices were sky high in the 80’s, but today’s high home prices are having a major impact on costs.
Advantages of buying an older condo
New condos offer the latest design touches and appliances, but older buildings have advantages. More space and predictable fees are a few advantages.
Mickey Mouse style inflation
A sobering report of rising costs to visit Disney parks struggling to keep the old magic going.
Home Renos for seniors
This article on retrofitting a home to make it accessible for aging seniors provides some useful cost guidelines for various projects, including adding an entryway wheelchair ramp and various bathroom adjustments.
Q: Virtual banks offer good savings rates. They also offer good ways to electronically transfer money between banks. Any cons?
A: The big downside is that there are no branches to visit if you have a problem. However, virtual banks can help customers over the phone and sometimes via email or online chat. In terms of security, virtual banks, like their traditional counterparts, offer deposit insurance through Canada Deposit Insurance Corp. or the plans of the provincial credit unions.
Do you have a question for me? Send it to me. Sorry I can’t answer everyone personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.
Crypto investors beware
Have you bet heavily on cryptocurrencies during the pandemic? The Globe wants to speak to new and veteran investors who have suffered crypto losses. What is your outlook on the industry? To share your story in a judgment-free zone, email Globe reporter Salmaan Farooqui at [email protected]
Today’s financial tool
The WhatBank.ca Credit Card Finder connects you and your personal spending habits to the credit cards that offer the type of rewards you want. WhatBank says that unlike some other financial websites, it doesn’t receive referral fees when visitors to its website click through to a card issuer’s website.
The money free zone
Spend 22 minutes with a Canadian music great – Willie Dunn. This 2013 video was filmed a few months before his death. Dunn, also an activist and politician (he ran for the NDP at the federal level), was a folksinger who told Indigenous stories.
look at that
How does a credit score affect the rest of your finances?
In case you missed these personal finance stories from the Globe and Mail
- Why don’t I tie my child’s maternity allowance to housework? Because I want her to have a healthy relationship with money
- Large mortgage lenders let borrowers roll unpaid interest onto principal to cope with rising costs
- Covered call ETFs’ high returns come with hidden costs
More Rob Carrick and money cover
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