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What is a credit score?

Your credit score is a judgement about your financial health, at a specific point in time.

It indicates the risk you represent for lenders, compared with other consumers.

The two major credit reporting agencies in Canada are Equifax and TransUnion.

They both use a scale from 300 t0 900, the higher your score, the lower the risk for the lender.

What influences your credit score?

  • payment history (do you carry a balance on your credit card from month to month? have you ever missed a payment or been late on any of your debts?)
  • any  collections or bankruptcy’s, or judgements. (has a collection company ever had to collect an unpaid bill against you?)
  • your outstanding debts (is your spending close to your limit on your credit card?)
  • your account history (how long have you had credit?)
  • number or recent inquiries made about your credit report
  • type of credit you are using (do you have only credit cards, or do you have a mix of credit cards and loans?)

How long do these factors affect your credit score?

Depending on the province, for Nova Scotia, most information shows on your report for 6 – 7 years, with consumer proposal, orderly payment of debt or Credit Counselling, remain 2-3 years.

Top factors that lower your score.

Too many consumer finance company accounts on your credit report. Having too much available credit can harm your credit score. Lenders may feel that you have the ability to spend more than you could potentially pay back. You may want to consider closing a few accounts or asking to have your credit limits reduced. Avoid closing too many account, especially the oldest accounts as these show length of credit.

Balances too high. High levels of debt indicate to lenders that your are spending more than you can afford. It is a good idea to use your credit cards regularly but keep your balances below 35% of your approved limit, if you carry balances above 35 – 50% you could see your score start to drop.

Not enough revolving account information on your report. Using your credit accounts regularly enables lenders to better evaluate your credit worthiness,  there is more data about your payment and spending behaviour. Using your credit cards to make a few purchases each month can help improve your credit score.

How to maintain a good credit history.

There are a number of things you can do to build and maintain a good credit history;

  • pay your bills on time
  • try to pay your bills in full by the due date, if you aren’t able to do this, pay at least the minimum amount shown on your monthly statement
  • contact your creditors if your are having trouble making payments
  • make sure your monthly account  statement is correct
  • read statements and other material you receive from your credit card company carefully. keep up to date on any fee increases or changes to your cards terms and conditions.
  • deal with companies you know and trust
  • get a copy of your credit report from both credit reporting agencies at least once a year and make sure the information is correct.
  • don’t ever go over the credit limit on your credit card!

Equifax Canada                                                            TransUnion Canada

National Consumer Relations                                  Consumer Relations Centre

PO Box 190, Station Jean-Talon,                             PO Box 338, LCD 1

Montreal, Quebec  H1S 2Z2                                       Hamilton, Ontario  L8L 7W2

Tel. (toll free) 1-800-465-7166                                 Tel. (toll free) 1-866-525-0262

Fax. 514-355-8502                                                        Fax. 905-527-0401

www.equifax.ca                                                             www.transunion.ca

 

 


  • Head Office

    Head Office

    41 Gerrish Street
    P.O. Box 340
    Windsor, NS
    B0N 2T0
    Tel: (902) 798-1820
    Fax: (902) 798-1255

  • Brooklyn

    Brooklyn Branch

    7763 HWY 14
    P.O. Box 40
    Newport, Hants Co., NS
    B0N 2A0
    Tel: (902) 757-2525
    Fax: (902) 757-1766

  • Kennetcook

    Kennetcook Branch

    6206 Hwy. #354
    Comp. 8, Box 8
    Kennetcook, NS
    B0N 1P0
    Tel: (902) 362-2594
    Fax: (902) 362-2150

  • Windsor

    Windsor Branch

    150 Wentworth Road
    P.O. Box 340
    Windsor, NS
    B0N 2T0
    Tel: (902) 798-5726
    Fax: (902) 798-4425

Contact Victory Credit Union