Written by Debbie Dias, Branch Manager for National Bank of Canada
A credit bureau report is detailed history of how you pay your credit cards, loans, mortgages, Line of credit and even your monthly cell phone bill. Financial and Retail institutions regularly report your payment habits to the credit bureau agencies. Regular reporting includes information such as when you opened your account, if you make your payments on time, if you have exceeded your credit limit or if you have missed any payments. This information is then translated into a rating.
Your rating and your payment history are the most important things determining whether and institution will lend to you. So it is important for everyone to keep their credit bureau in good standing.
Some of the best tips I can offer based on my experience are as follows:
Limit credit inquiries.
Be selective on who checks your credit bureau. Every time you apply for credit (cards, loans, etc), there is an inquiry logged on your credit bureau. Too many in a short period of time can be associated as a risk and lower your overall credit score.
Make your payments on time.
Always make your monthly payments. Any late payments, even if you are only one month late will be reported and will lower your overall credit score.
Do not exceed your credit limit.
In fact I suggest keeping the balance less than 70-80% of the credit limit on credit card and line of credit accounts. Being at the limit or over limit also negatively effects your credit score.
Review your credit report at least yearly.
It is so important in today’s age to ensure you know what is on your credit bureau report for various reasons. Firstly, you will be able to ensure there are no issues or errors on your report. Secondly checking your report will ensure that there are no instances of identity theft.
You can contact the Equifax or TransUnion Credit bureau websites for instructions on how to monitor or order your personal credit bureau. It is well worth the investment.