Financial Friday: What is a Credit Bureau?

A company that collects and compiles information about your credit history. This information is reported to the credit bureau from banks, other financial institutions, credit card companies, utility companies, collection agencies, and various other bodies such as courthouses and the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy. 

In Canada, there are two credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax.

Credit bureaus summarize your credit history in a report, called a ‘credit report’. Lenders look at your credit report, along with other things, to decide whether or not to give you credit. The credit report includes information on how you have used credit in the past, your credit ratings, and your credit score. Each credit bureau has its own formula for how they calculate your credit score. 

You have the right to a free copy of your credit report once a year from both credit bureaus. (They encourage you to pay for a subscription but you can get your credit report for free!)

Look through all the information to make sure it is correct. If it is not correct, you can ask Equifax and TransUnion to correct the information. 

If you suspect fraud using your name or information…

To protect yourself, you can put fraud alerts on your accounts with both TransUnion and Equifax. That will alert any future creditors that they need to call you before issuing credit to someone using your name.

If you would like to help review your credit report and make a plan to improve your credit score, please reach out to our Financial Literacy Coordinator.

*When you request your credit report, you are required to update your contact information with the credit bureau. This information will then be available to existing creditors, which may include creditors you owe money to or collection agencies.