To borrow money in Canada, you need a good credit score. A good credit score indicates to your lender that you are accountable. It also gives them some sort of guarantee that you will repay your loan promptly.
A credit bureau calculates your credit score, and Equifax and TransUnion are the two main credit bureaus in Canada. This article will be evaluating Equifax or Transunion to determine which is better.
Credit Score Canada
Your credit score is a 3-digit number derived from your credit report’s information (a summary of your credit (lending) history). Lenders send your credit report to credit bureaus or credit reporting agencies.
There is no precise formula to how a credit score is calculated as credit bureaus don’t share the formula they use. Also, your credit score will either increase or decrease depending on how well you manage your credit.
Most lenders have a minimum credit score you must have before you can access their credit. A good credit score offers you many benefits, like access to lower interest rates and a more significant loan amount.
Credit scores may vary depending on the scoring model used, but generally, credit scores range from 300 to 850. Credit scores ranging from 580 to 669 are considered fair, good credit scores range from 700 to 739, and a credit score will be considered very good if it ranges from 740 to 799. Anything from 800 and upward is regarded as an excellent credit score. Therefore, you want your credit score to be above 600 at the least.
- 800 – 900: Excellent
- 720 – 799: Very good
- 650 – 719: Good
- 600 – 649: Fair
- 300 – 599: Poor
Credit Bureaus in Canada
A credit bureau or a credit reporting agency collects information from your creditors, stores and shares your credit report when needed. There are two major credit bureaus in Canada, they are:
These bureaus are privately owned and only collect information from your creditors to access your credit history in Canada. Some financial institutions or lenders may also consider the details of your credit history outside Canada. Credit bureaus are governed by rules that indicate who can see and use your credit reports. Such people include;
- Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions
- Credit card companies
- Car leasing companies
- Mobile phone companies
- Insurance companies
- Governments (provincial, territorial, or federal)
Now, your credit report is not only vital for accessing credit. It can be used to make other decisions about you like;
- Job evaluation
- Rental leasing evaluation
- Promotion review
- Providing you with insurance
Equifax is one of Canada’s leading credit bureau. It is a subsidiary of Equifax LLC in the United States.
Equifax Canada markets individual credit reports to its clients. Its services range from:
- Providing a credit score
- Credit lock product
- Fraudulent avoidance
- Comprehensive credit-monitoring solution
TransUnion is a Canada-based credit risk assessment company, otherwise known as a credit bureau. Like Equifax, it provides credit reports to its clients as well as potential creditors. It also offers several consumer products such as
- The ability to freeze ad unfreeze your credit
- Access to paid services
The Difference in Credit Scores Between Both Bureaus
When you request your credit score from both credit bureaus, they may be different. The difference may be minor or might even vary greatly. There are various reasons why your credit score might differ from the bureaus. Such reasons include;
- Different Credit-Scoring Models
Both bureaus use the proprietary scoring model. Even as credit scores are calculated based on similar factors like your payment history and the amounts of accounts you have on good standing, each bureau had its credit-scoring model.
The model evaluates these factors differently. Both Equifax and TransUnion use an exclusive algorithm in collating and computing your score. While Equifax utilises Equifax Risk Score, TransUnion uses the CreditVision Scoring technique.
Generally, both bureaus use the 300 – 900 score range for evaluation. Equifax operates an 81-month credit history while TransUnion checks your data to as far back as over 24 months.
- Different Information Provided to Each Bureau
Your lenders may have provided less information to one bureau and more data to another. Some may even report to only one out of the two bureaus. One bureau may also receive an update of your reports while another doesn’t, or the time each receives a report is different. This can cause a difference in your credit score.
- Different Dates
Credit scores vary with time, and you may be seeing your credit score from another date. So, it would be best if you compare your scores from the same period.
Equifax or Transunion – Which is Better in Canada?
The truth is, there is no credit score from either bureau that is better or more accurate than the other. The choice is dependent on the potential creditor; they may choose one credit score over another, but their choice doesn’t mean that one is better than the other.
Potential creditors also look at different credit reports, and you are not entitled by law to know which. You may only ask, but they are not obliged to tell you. However, potential creditors are required by law to do the following when they deny your application for a loan (credit):
- Explain the primary reasons for the denied application
- Tell you which credit score the denial was based on
- Provide you with the contact information of the credit bureau that provided your credit report
- Tell you of your right to obtain a free copy of the report used to decide on the credit bureau within 60 days of the denial of the credit application.
- Educate you on how you can amend the report or the information to be added to it.
When you get your report from the credit bureau and detect some errors, you can dispute the mistakes, and the bureau is obliged to tell you to investigate the errors and correct them.
Monitoring your Credit History
Your credit history changes with time; therefore, it is recommended that you monitor your credit regularly to stay updated on any changes that may have occurred.
You can get copies of your reports from any credit bureaus by requesting them at a specific period. There are also some credit score checking platforms you can subscribe to, and you will be able to check your credit score at any time. Such platforms include:
- Credit Karma
Regularly checking your credit history and your credit score from Equifax and TransUnion will help you identify errors, if any, and give you insight into how you can improve your credit and have a higher borrowing potential. You can also identify any abnormal activity that may be hinting at identity theft.
It can be concluded from the above that the credit scores from Equifax and TransUnion are not the determinants of whether or not your credit application is granted. Potential creditors have a different basis for granting or denying your application.
Hence, there is no better or more accurate score from either of them. Although both are the major credit reporting agencies in Canada, there are other agencies, too, like Experian.
Both Equifax and TransUnion are unique in their form. Each bureau utilizes your payment history, credit card utilization, duration of credit history, and any negative mark on your credit report to calculate your score.