While there is no federal requirement to make a check of Canadian credit free to the consumer, there are a number of different ways to check Canadian credit. The consumer can check their Canadian credit online, by mail or by telephone, but it will end up costing them a small fee.
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.
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. The costs are the same, but the process will take several weeks to complete.
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.