It is important your credit reports contain accurate information because they can be crucial when your ability to pay is being judged by a prospective lender or landlord. Even a small, apparently inconsequential debt can result in denial of future credit because of lender policies. Regardless whether you have been through a bankruptcy or consumer proposal we recommend you obtain your two credit reports, check them out and make sure they are accurate. They might be messy, however this is one of your last steps in being debt-free.
After you have fully completed your consumer proposal you may have no more debts. With no debt shouldn’t you be able to get credit again and get it quickly? Well, yes and no. Some types of credit are easier to get than others – more on that later.
Yes, Canada Has Two Credit Bureaus
There are two credit bureaus in Canada: Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. As consumers we have been forced to allow every major lender to report to these bureaus on how we are repaying our loans. Then, when we apply for credit, the prospective lender can check our credit reports and ascertain whether we are credit-worthy.
Lenders have their bureau of choice. You must check your credit reports at both Equifax and TransUnion.
We recommend you get their free credit reports. It’s not neceesary to get your credit score which we consider quite useless. Okay, your score is 519 – now what? If you really want it, you might have to apply for it online and pay for it – using a credit card!
Just print Equifax’s online request form then fill it out, attach proof of your identity and your address, and send it off. Your credit report will be mailed to you.
I recently got my credit report from TransUnion Canada following the CreditKarma link here. It was easy and informative. When you try to get your your report online, you are led through several multiple choice questions about your credit history. You have to be exact in your answers. If you cannot answer the questions correctly then TransUnion also has a request form you can print out and mail in.
Always be careful about applying online for your credit report. They might entice you to apply for monitoring for a monthly fee which may be of no use to you.
How to Correct Errors in Your Credit Report
There might be errors in your credit reports. The history of your borrowings (called “trade lines”) will be reported for six years. You cannot change the history, but you can ensure that the final comment for each of the trade line states “included in bankruptcy” or “included in consumer proposal”, whichever is appropriate. Check each trade line carefully to ensure it has the correct comment. If the final comment is “bad debt” or “skip trace”, then that comment needs to be revised if that debt was included in your insolvency filing. Or, if you finished a consumer proposal and the trade line says “included in bankruptcy” that is also wrong.
Both Equifax and TransUnion should give you a correction form with your free credit report. To correct one or multiple errors, fill in the form to tell them what is wrong and attach some documentation – something that shows this creditor was included in a list. This could be the Final Statement of Receipts and Disbursements and Dividend Sheet or your Statement of Affairs. The credit bureau needs to verify your comments before they will will correct your report. If you are still not satisfied, you can add a brief statement to your credit report.