Who Can Access My Equifax Credit Report?

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  • Those with “permissible purpose” can access your Equifax credit report to help them make certain types of decisions about you

  • You must provide consent for lenders and creditors or employers to access your Equifax credit report

  • You can see which companies have accessed your Equifax credit report

Financial institutions, other lenders, and companies with what's called "permissible purpose" can access your Equifax credit report to help in making certain types of decisions about you.

For example, when you apply for a loan or credit card, a lender may use the information in your Equifax credit report to help determine whether to lend you money and at what terms.

No one can access your Equifax credit report unless they have a permissible purpose.

What is permissible purpose?

Under the law, permissible purposes are the purposes established by law for which someone is permitted to access your Equifax credit report.

Your Equifax credit report can only be accessed for specific reasons. Some examples:

  • Lenders and creditors you are applying for credit with (for example, buying or leasing a vehicle)
  • Existing creditors you have a relationship with, to review an existing account to determine whether you continue to meet the account terms
  • Debt collection companies, to use in collecting payment
  • Insurance companies, to underwrite insurance involving you
  • Employers or prospective employers, to offer you a job or promotion
  • Rental companies/landlords, phone and utility companies, to provide a service

Some other "permissible purpose" reasons to access your Equifax credit report may include:

  • To determine your eligibility for certain government benefits

  • When requested by a court order or any Canadian law enforcement agency for an investigation or prosecution

  • In connection with a legitimate business need relating to a transaction initiated by you (an example might be wanting to prequalify for a loan)

Any company receiving a copy of your Equifax credit report will be listed in the "inquiries" section of the credit report. If you learn that your Equifax credit report has been accessed outside of the reasons outlined by provincial and federal laws, please contact the company that made the inquiry to investigate, as well as contact Equifax.

One note: Because some companies use third parties to pull credit reports, the name on the inquiry may not be immediately familiar to you. If you see a name you don't recognize, but you have recently applied for credit or for a service such as phone or utility service, you can check with the lender to see if a third party was used to access your Equifax credit report.

If the inquiry is associated with fraud or identity theft, the company can request that the inquiry be changed to a "soft" inquiry, which will not impact your credit scores and will only be viewable by you. 

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