TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 2, 2016) - Equifax Canada (NYSE:EFX) is encouraging people to take advantage of the extra hour they get back with the end of Daylight Savings Time this Sunday by checking their credit report, which is a snapshot of your financial history. Equifax data suggests that just over 1 million Canadians accessed their Equifax credit report in the past 12 months.
Reminding people to check their credit report is one of Equifax Canada's initiatives in support of Financial Literacy Month led by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).
"At a minimum people should check their credit report every 12 months," said Julie Kuzmic, a financial literacy expert with Equifax Canada. "It's an important part of managing your personal finances. Not only is it helpful in spotting possible unexpected changes in your credit report over time, but it can also help uncover identity theft or fraud. For the vast majority, however, they'll find everything is accurate, but 'it pays to know' – that's the theme of Financial Literacy Month.
"And, there's nothing to hold people back from checking their credit report too – because they can get it for free," advised Kuzmic.
How to check your credit report
You can order your free credit report from one of the two credit reporting agencies (Equifax and TransUnion) by mail, fax, telephone, or in person. For people interested in on-going credit monitoring with alerts of key changes to their credit file, there is a subscription product called Equifax Complete.
"The information in your credit report is important because it can mean the difference between getting approved or refused when you apply for a credit card, a mortgage or other loans," said Jane Rooney, Canada's Financial Literacy Leader. "In some cases, it can even impact your ability to rent housing or to get hired for a job. This is why I encourage consumers to order and check their credit report regularly and ensure that it is free of errors or signs of identity theft."
Equifax also wants people to understand, that while they are related, your credit score is different than the financial history detailed in your credit report. A credit score is a three-digit number, which is calculated using the information in your credit report. And despite what some people think, ordering your own credit report has no effect on your credit score. Equifax discovered in a recent consumer survey1 that only one-in-three Canadians indicated they knew their credit score. Fewer than 10 per cent checked their credit score before applying for a mortgage.
"Lenders often use a credit score as one of the factors in determining how likely it is that you will pay back a loan amount," said Kuzmic. "The higher your credit score, the higher the likelihood that you will demonstrate good payment behavior. Maintaining a healthy credit history, for example by paying bills on time will go a long way in securing a loan at a lower interest rate.
An Equifax credit score ranges from 300-900. Higher scores are viewed more favourably. Based on Equifax Canada's consumer credit database, most Canadians (71 per cent) have a credit score of 725 or higher, which is considered to be Very Good or Excellent.
Score Range by Canadian Population %
To learn more about maintaining a healthy credit report and score, please visit the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada's resource Understanding Your Credit Report and Credit Score.
Equifax powers the financial future of individuals and organizations around the world. Using the combined strength of unique trusted data, technology and innovative analytics, Equifax has grown from a consumer credit company into a leading provider of insights and knowledge that helps its customers make informed decisions. The company organizes, assimilates and analyzes data on more than 820 million consumers and more than 91 million businesses worldwide, and its databases include employee data contributed from more than 5,000 employers.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. It is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index, and its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. Equifax employs approximately 9,400 employees worldwide.
Some noteworthy achievements for the company include: Ranked 13 on the American Banker FinTech Forward list (2015); named a Top Technology Provider on the FinTech 100 list (2004-2015); named an InformationWeek Elite 100 Winner (2014-2015); named a Top Workplace by Atlanta Journal Constitution (2013-2015); named one of Fortune's World's Most Admired Companies (2011-2015); named one of Forbes' World's 100 Most Innovative Companies (2015). For more information, visit www.equifax.com
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