The golden rule of credit is to use it without going beyond your means. Credit is money and interest that have to be paid back—not just cash in your pocket.
Once this is crystal clear and you use your credit accordingly, it can come in quite handy for carrying out projects or making purchases without coughing up the cash right away.
Earning the Trust of Lenders
Your lending power depends on one thing: how much trust financial institutions have in your creditworthiness. It is up to you to earn and maintain this trust. The more responsibly you use credit, the better you’ll look in the eyes of major lenders.
What’s it worth to be in their good books? Let’s just say that when the time comes to apply for financing to carry out a project or buy something you really want, having good credit makes things a lot easier.
What is a Credit Report?
Your credit report is your debtor (or borrower) profile. As soon as you have a credit card, or start paying back loans or bills, a credit report is created under your name at two credit bureaus: Equifax Canada and TransUnion.
Your credit report helps determine if you are likely to pay back your obligation on time or not. Three kinds of relevant information are collected.
- General: Your name, age, address and current/previous jobs
- Financial: Everything related to your past credit applications, credit cards, balance and account payments, late payments, etc.
- Legal (recorded in public archives): everything regarding legal situations or actions you’ve been involved in, if any (collection, bankruptcy, alimony, lawsuits, etc.)
The institution or the company to which you apply for the credit (loan, credit card, line of credit, or mortgage) or service (electricity, telephone, Internet, etc.) looks up your credit score from the credit bureaus. This way, they know your financial capability before granting you the credit or providing the service.
No need to tell you that things are a lot less complicated when you have good credit.
Establishing Good Credit
Are you wondering what you have to do to build your credit history and consequently, improve your credit score? It's simple. Just apply for a credit card, use it and pay your balances on time and in full. We suggest you start off with a low credit limit until you get the hang of it.
If, as a precaution, you don’t want a credit card, you may have trouble obtaining financing when you need it. A blank credit file, though better than a bad score, doesn't say much about your creditworthiness.
This would mean that you might need a co-signer with good credit to secure a loan. Your co-signer would have to pay back your loan if ever you were unable to do so.
Can I See the Information in My Credit Report?
Yes, you can access your credit report. We suggest you check your credit report once a year to ensure it's up to date. After all, the information in your credit report is used to assess your creditworthiness, information that is available to lenders and retailers.