Understanding your credit report and credit score – Part 1
What many prospective borrowers don't realize is that the pricing of mortgages and other loans is based in part on their credit-worthiness. Consumers need to be aware of how their credit is evaluated by lenders, and how they can work to avoid so-called "bruised credit" – people with a lower credit score can find themselves paying a higher interest rate, or even denied access to certain types of loans.
A credit report is a detailed history of how consistently you meet your financial obligations, and provides a picture of your financial health based on your past behaviour. A credit score is a three-digit number, usually between 300 and 900, representing your overall credit-worthiness, based on personal information from your credit report and other sources.
Both your credit report and score are important. When deciding whether or not to grant a mortgage loan, lenders refer to an applicant's credit report and score, along with a range of other factors such as income, employment history, and size of down payment.
The higher your score the more likely you are to be approved for a mortgage and receive favourable rates because the lender considers you to be a better credit risk. Several factors are used by the two main credit agencies in Canada (Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada) to calculate credit scores:
- Debt payment history.
- Amounts owed compared to your current credit limits with lenders.
- How often you seek new credit.
- Length of time you have had credit accounts.
- Type of credit, such as car loans, lines of credit, credit cards.
Next week:How to keep your credit report and credit score healthy.