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02/12/2019 @ 6:23 AM

Checking your credit score can be a daunting process for many people.

Where do you go to check it? Are there different scores? What’s a credit bureau? How do I access my score?

When people first start looking at these questions, they will often quickly run into an even larger question: wait, I have to pay to access my credit score?!

While it is true that the two main credit bureaus in Canada do charge for immediate access to your score, there are alternatives if you want to get an idea what your score is straight away. Having access to your credit score is a legal right in Canada, so you’ll always be able to find out what it is using a variety of different services.

We have put together a list of the top five free services for checking your credit score in Barrie. This can be especially important for people with bad credit who are looking to repair it, so read on and see how you can check your score.

Man checking credit for bad credit car loan in Barrie

LowestRates.ca

A great place to start for your free credit score search is with this rate comparing website.

LowestRates.ca compiles different insurance and financial product rates from many different providers and displays them to the user in a single, easy to read interface. This saves you from having to visit each credit provider individually, saving you time during your search. LowestRates.ca also offers a free credit score check as part of their services, which can be easily accessed on their website. They just require your email address, the reason for your credit score check, and a few details, and they’ll do the rest.

The benefits of using LowestRates.ca for your credit score check is that, once you receive your credit score, LowestRates.ca will be able to optimise the rates they show you for insurances and credit cards based off your score. This can help you find an exclusive low rate on a financial product you were considering applying for, all in the one place! Checking your score with LowestRates.ca is also considered a “soft” credit check, and so will not impact your score at all.

The LowestRates.ca credit score is based on your Equifax credit score, which is one of the two credit scores generally applied to customers in Barrie. This will likely be different to your TransUnion credit score, so it would be wise to use another service to see what your score for the other credit bureau is.

Mogo

Another very popular free credit score checker in Barrie is Mogo.

This groundbreaking Canadian owned and operated company has made checking your financial health a slick and easy experience with their polished app and interfaces. The Mogo website is easy to navigate, and completely free to sign up for. It is capable of tracking a range of financial metrics, including cryptocurrency prices, mortgage rates, new credit cards, and more. They also offer a cutting edge identity theft protection program, which alerts you to any suspicious activity on your credit file and allows you to stop any damage from being done before it tanks your score.

Similar to LowestRates.ca, Mogo can use your credit score to recommend the lowest rate financial products that you could be eligible for. This can save you time and money if you are in the market for a new credit card or mortgage.

Mogo’s credit score is similarly based on your Equifax score, which is widely used for many credit applications. Again, it is recommended you find out what your other credit scores are from other services before applying for credit to see if there is a large disparity between the two.

Credit Karma

For an alternative free credit score checking platform, many Canadians use Credit Karma.

Similarly designed for the digital generation like Mogo, Credit Karma has an easy to use online interface that guides you through every step to receive your credit score. They offer credit score reporting, free credit history analysis, and a comprehensive knowledge hub with plenty of informative articles and guides for many different financial issues.

A benefit of Credit Karma is that it pulls your credit score from TransUnion, the other main credit bureau used in Canada. They even developed a new proprietary credit scoring model called CreditVision Risk. This model takes into account your credit enquiries and history over the past 24 months to develop a more holistic credit score than traditional models which generate a score based off the exact moment a lender chooses to look at your score. This new model is used by many lenders, and has become the standard for many financial institutions.

Combining Mogo and Credit Karma is a good idea, as it will give you both your Equifax and TransUnion scores quickly and easily, showing you a comprehensive view of your financial position.

Equifax

If you want to get your credit score straight from the source, Equifax does offer a free credit reporting option for consumers.

As Equifax is one of the two leading credit bureaus in Canada, it is the trusted source for your credit score for many lenders. However, the free credit report process from Equifax is deliberately convoluted and time consuming in order to encourage you to pay for their premium service. To obtain your free credit report, you need to fill out an application form and either email or send it to Equifax by mail, then wait 10 business days for it to be emailed to you. This obviously will not work for people who want access to their score immediately, and seems like an unnecessary option when free services like Mogo or LowestRates.ca exist.

You can get a 30 day free trial of Equifax’s premium plan, which will allow you to access your score immediately. This can allow you to generate a credit report you can include with rental or mortgage applications straight away. However, in order to cancel the free trial, you will need to call Equifax and speak with someone, which can be an annoyance that not many people have time for.

Man checking his credit score for car loan in Barrie

TransUnion

The other main credit bureau in Canada is TransUnion, and they offer a free credit reporting service as well.

Credit bureaus are mandated by law to provide a free credit report for consumers at least once a year. TransUnion makes the process a little easier than Equifax does, and has an instant, online portal available for customers to access their credit report. However, the TransUnion offering is what is known as a Consumer Disclosure, as opposed to a credit score. This document will show you an in depth look at all your financial obligations and past entries on your credit file. It will not show you a single numerical credit score, so you won’t know exactly where you stand based off the score if you go with their free option.

Of course, they do offer a paid version of their premium program as well, but with Credit Karma offering up free TransUnion scores, it seems like a waste of money.

The Best Option

Choosing the best option out of the above will depend on what you are looking to achieve with your credit score check and what you are applying for.

Lenders will use either Equifax or TransUnion to pull your credit score, but you will rarely know which one they use ahead of time. That’s why it is a good idea to check both of your scores before you apply for credit, to ensure you know if there is a big discrepancy between the two. If you notice a big difference, you can potentially work towards improving one of them before you apply to give you the best chance of being approved.

Probably the best option for most people would be to use a free platform to check your credit score with both credit bureaus. You could then apply for a more detailed report directly with each credit bureau so you can have a complete overview of your financial situation without spending a dime.

Is your credit score suffering due to past mistakes? One of the best ways to rebuild your credit score in through making regular, on time repayments for your debts. A bad credit car loan can be a fantastic option for people with subprime credit that need to get into a new car fast. Barrie Bad Credit Car Loans is the leading supplier of cars and car loans for customers with poor credit. We have a range of over 7,000 new and certified used vehicles to choose from, and we deliver anywhere in Ontario for free. Contact us today and let us negotiate the lowest possible interest rate for you.