Building a Good Credit History Is More Important Than You Think

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Credit History

If you were ever turned down for a loan, charged higher interest rates, or had a landlord refuse to rent you an apartment, it could be because of your credit history.

Your credit history may make you appear to be a bad risk, or indicate that you sometimes have trouble making your monthly payments. Maybe you never had credit before, so there is no track record of how you pay back money you borrowed. Or maybe - without knowing it - you were a victim of "identity theft", which affected your credit rating.

Many Canadians - especially newcomers to Canada or students - who do not have much experience with credit would be surprised to learn how crucial it is to build and maintain a good credit history if you want to qualify for a mortgage or other types of loan.

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To help consumers understand the ins and outs of credit, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has developed a useful booklet called Understanding Your Credit Report and Credit Score, which you can obtain at no cost by calling FCAC, toll-free, at 1-866-461-3222, or by visiting the Agency's Web site: www.fcac.gc.ca

Know how credit reporting works

Three major credit-reporting agencies in Canada - Equifax, Transunion and Northern Credit Bureaus - keep a file on consumers, called a "credit report". This is one of the main tools lenders use when deciding whether or not to grant you credit.

The credit report rates you on how well and how promptly you pay your bills. Some credit-reporting agencies will also assign you a "credit score", to indicate to potential lenders how likely you are, compared to other consumers, to pay back the money you borrowed.

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