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Who can check your credit score in Canada?

Your credit score and credit report are two pieces to the puzzle that is your financial life. Whether or not you get approved for a loan, what your interest rates will be, and if you’ll be able to rent an apartment all depend on the contents of your credit report.

Nearly all of the information within your credit report is sensitive. For this reason, it is helpful to know who can access your credit report in Canada. Fortunately, due to consumer protection laws, individuals and entities, with a few exceptions, require your permission before pulling your credit report. This means you will know when someone pulls your credit report before it happens. To learn more about credit checks and who can access your credit report, continue reading below.

 

What is a Credit Check?

A credit check is the process of an entity or individual contacting a credit bureau to access the credit report of a specific person. Usually, the main goal of performing a credit check is to understand a person’s financial history and creditworthiness. In Canada, there are two types of credit checks: a hard pull and a soft pull.

 

Hard Pull

When a potential lender or creditor pulls your credit report, it is known as a hard pull. Essentially, any person who has a credit relationship will cause a hard pull when they check your credit. A hard pull will impact your credit score for about 12 months and the inquiry will remain on your report for two years. Typically, your score will go down a few points. Individuals looking to perform a hard pull need your permission first so you will know in advance of the credit checks occurrence.

 

Soft Pull

Whenever an individual or entity checks your credit but does not have a credit relationship with you, it is known as a soft pull. In addition, when you pull your own credit report, it is a soft pull. Soft pulls have no impact on your credit score.

 

Who can check your credit in Canada?

Aside from yourself, there are several individuals or entities that can check your credit. For whatever reason, they are interested in seeing your financial status and history. Keep in mind that most individuals and entities need your permission to check your credit. Below is a list of all the individuals and entities that can check your credit in Canada.

 

Potential Lenders

If you’re applying for a loan or other financial product, the lender will likely check your credit report. Lenders could include banks and credit card companies among others.

 

Cell Phone Providers

Cell phones are commonly used and expensive utility. Cell phone providers want to ensure their customers will make payments before finalizing a contract.

 

Landlords

In a way, landlords are lenders because they’re giving you a space to live in exchange for rent money. Before agreeing to rent the space to you, they will usually pull a credit report to understand your payment history.

 

Collection Agencies

In order to locate you, collection agencies may pull your credit report.

 

Individuals with a Court Order

Anyone who has successfully obtained a court order against you to pull your credit report can access your credit report without your permission. This does not happen often, the individual out to get your credit report would need a strong case against you.

 

Insurance Providers

Anytime you apply for a new insurance policy, your insurance provider may want to understand your financial history before insuring you.

 

Government Bodies

Unlike other entities, government bodies do not need your permission to pull your credit. They can do so whenever they like for whatever reason.

 

Employers

Some employers will request a credit check before hiring you. Requesting a credit check is rare, but could happen. If you’re applying for a job that requires a high level of responsibility or where you’ll be a member of the financial industry, a credit check is entirely possible (for more information about employers checking your credit, click here).

 

Why do lenders check credit?

Before extending credit, lenders want to reasonably ensure that the applicant will repay their debt. If they don’t do their due diligence, there is a high risk that applicants won’t make payments and default on the loan which lenders want to avoid. The perfect way to check a candidate’s creditworthiness and the likelihood that they’ll repay a loan is to check their credit. Often, the most valuable information in a credit report is payment history which lenders are most concerned with.

 

Credit and your future

Now that you know who can check your credit report, you can be better prepared for your future financial decisions. The next time you go to a job interview or apply for an insurance policy you’ll know a credit check is possible. This gives you the opportunity to clean up your report before these individuals or entities request access. Credit scores and reports play a big role in your finances, put your best foot forward and take good care of their contents.

This article was contributed by Loans Canada, Canada’s loan search platform.

 

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