Your credit report is a snapshot of your credit history. It is one of the main tools lenders use to decide whether or not to give you credit.
Your credit report contains information about your past and present personal financial situation, including information about any credit you may currently have, such as a loan or credit cards, banking information, whether you have ever had a debt referred to a collection agency and details of any enquiries anyone has made about your credit.
Your credit report also lists your credit rating on a scale from 1 (you pay your bills within 30 days of the due date) to 9 (you never pay your bills at all or have made a consumer debt repayment proposal to a lender). The report also includes a chart showing your payment history over the last two years and a scale that shows the number of times you paid your bills 30, 60 or 90 days after the due date.
You should check your credit report every year. To get a copy of your credit report, contact each of Canada's major credit reporting agencies (Equifax or TransUnion). Check that the report is accurate. If there are mistakes you can't fix yourself through the credit bureau, contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office for help.
You might see or hear advertisements from companies that promise to clean up or erase your bad credit report. They charge fees, usually hundreds of dollars, but may not deliver on their promises. In fact, no credit repair company can do anything you can't do yourself.
No one can force a credit bureau to remove accurate negative information before the legal time that it must appear on your credit report is up. There are no loopholes or laws that credit repair companies can use to get correct information off your credit report. The only way to repair bad credit is with good credit practices over time.
To learn more about your credit report and credit score, consult Understanding Your Credit Report and Credit Score, produced by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). It can be found under the Consumer Publications section of their website.