A step-by-step guide to checking out your credit in advance of getting your car loan
The mistakes we often make that can lead to bad credit can, in fact, be traced back to never even looking at our actual credit report. Perhaps this is because most of us just assume that our credit is fine – or at the very least, think there is nothing we can do to improve our credit if it is in poor condition. However if you are looking to obtain additional credit, you will want to make sure your current credit situation is in the best shape possible. If it isn’t, then the old phrase ‘knowledge is power’ is perhaps the best piece of advice you can receive to start heading down the right path.
For one thing, if your goal is to avoid developing bad credit then regularly tracking your credit report can help you achieve this. On the other hand, if you already know you have bad credit or are heading in that direction, then knowing where you went wrong and trying to reverse this issue is important. This is why tracking your credit, in the form of a quarterly credit check, can be an extremely useful routine.
Here are some steps to take to check your credit now – and ultimately, expand your opportunities for obtaining a car loan.
Obtain a Copy of Your Credit Report
In order to obtain a copy of your credit report, you will want to contact one or both of the Canadian Credit Bureaus. These agencies are TransUnion and Equifax. That being said, it may be best to obtain a copy of your report from both agencies to compare your credit report from each group. There may be some discrepancies between each report, as one may reflect some information that the other one does not. You can contact each of these agencies to request a copy of your credit report and seek out more information by calling them at TransUnion Canada: 1-866-525-0262 and Equifax Canada: 1-800-465-7166 or visiting their websites. You can request a free basic report by mail which will provide you with details about your current credit situation and any inquiries made on your account. However, you won’t get a credit score unless you pay for a full credit report online. It’s a relatively small price to pay as the credit score will tell you how attractive you are from a credit perspective.
What Does Your Credit Report Tell You?
Once you have received a full report, you will want to examine it for specific details. First and foremost, your credit score will appear as a numeric figure that reflects the potential risk you may present as a credit borrower at a particular point in your life. The Canadian bureaus use a scale from 300 to 900 to represent your score. The higher your score, the lower your potential risk as a borrower.
You will also notice that an “R” rating will be associated with your credit file. This rating is assigned to your file by lenders based on your personal credit history. This rating ranges from 1 to 9, with 1 being the most ideal. This rating is based on the following information:
- Payment history
- The amount of credit you owe
- Credit usage
- Credit experience
- Acquisition of new credit
- Types of credit established
In order to request a personal Quarterly Credit update, you can utilize resources like the Equifax Credit Online Watch Tool. By receiving a quarterly update through this site, you can keep close track of your credit score and history.
It is also relevant to note that in the event you have been denied credit due to an inaccurate poor rating, you can request that the information be corrected by contacting these agencies. Ultimately, you want to make sure your credit score is as strong as it can be when looking to apply for new credit sources. If it is a new car you require, securing the necessary financing will likely provide the motivation to begin monitoring your credit on a quarterly basis.
If you are struggling with poor credit and need a loan, Canada Drives can link you to a lender who may be able to help meet your financial needs. With your new car loan, you can improve your credit by effectively managing this loan, making the payments on time and boosting your overall credit score and rating. While it is always important to keep working towards trying to improve your credit, if you do require a car loan right away, then knowing that you can contact Canada Drives to help, should reassure you.