Three digits that can change your life

Loan request rejected? Check if your credit score is accurate.

Gail Bebee 14 August, 2012 | 6:00PM
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When you apply for a mortgage, a credit card, a car loan or a line of credit, a little-known three-digit number assigned to you will influence the success of your application and the interest rate you will pay. This number, your credit score, is a statistical indicator at a given point in time of the likelihood that you will repay your debts. It is available from credit-reporting agencies, which are in the business of selling information to lenders on the creditworthiness of consumers and businesses.

A credit-reporting agency, or credit bureau as it is sometimes called, calculates a consumer's credit score using information from its extensive databanks on the credit history of millions of Canadians. If you have applied for any type of credit in Canada, you are likely in one of these databanks. Permission to disclose your financial dealings to "other parties" such as credit bureaus is a standard clause in many applications for credit.

Consumers may be surprised at the breadth of information that credit-reporting agencies have on file about them. Personal details including social insurance number, current and previous addresses, employment history and bank accounts are there. Many credit providers regularly report customer credit and payment activities to credit-reporting agencies. Hence, existing loans, available credit from credit cards and lines of credit, loan and credit-card payment history and any NSF cheques will likely be on file.

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About Author

Gail Bebee

Gail Bebee  Gail Bebee is an independent personal finance speaker, teacher and the author of No Hype--The Straight Goods on Investing Your Money. She can be reached at gbebee@gailbebee.com; her website is www.gailbebee.com.

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