While there is no federal requirement for a consumer to get a Canadian free credit report, there are a number of different ways to check Canadian credit. The consumer can check their Canadian credit online, or by telephone, but it will end up costing them a small fee. The only way to get a Canadian free credit report is through the mail.
There are three major credit bureaus that check Canadian credit. They are Equifax Canada, Transunion Canada and Northern Credit Bureaus, Inc. Though all three are supposed to receive the same information and report it in the same fashion, that is frequently not the case. In many instances, the information is different and frequently inaccurate. Considering the information on a credit report can stay on there for six years if it is not disputed, it can prove to be costly.
Obtaining a check of Canadian credit used to mean requesting the information and waiting for a response by regular mail. Now, two of the three credit reporting sites allow you to check Canadian credit online. Transunion Canada and Equifax Canada both provide access to credit reports over the Internet. If the consumer can answer a series of personal questions, they can order review their credit report over a secure Web portal. The process is not free, however; TransUnion Canada charges $14.95 (Canadian) to review a credit report, while Equifax Canada charges $15.50. Northern Credit Bureaus does not offer their credit reports online, but they can be ordered through regular mail. Transunion Canada and Equifax Canada offer a Canadian free credit report, but only through the mail.
As with Northern Credit Bureaus, TransUnion Canada and Equifax Canada also give consumers the opportunity to receive their reports by mail. Ironically, the best way to do so is by going to their respective Web sites and downloading and printing a consumer request form (at TransUnion) or clicking on “Your Credit Report” and going through the same process at Equifax’s Web site. Some third-party sites offer a free Canadian credit report, but a closer inspection shows they aren’t free at all.
If a check of your Canadian credit reveals problems, contacting the respective credit bureaus immediately is a good idea. It may take as long as six months and repeated protests to get a credit report changed, but the effort may be very important in the long run.