1969/12/31 | Tips and Tricks
Credit reports from A to Z
You think you know everything on credit reports? Test your knowledge with the following text!
Credit report components
You’d probably not be surprised to learn that your credit report contains your banking and credit informations, and also elements pertaining to bankruptcies (discharged or not). However, you’ll also find in there a lot informations of administrative, fiscal, and sometimes legal, nature. If you’re (or have been) entangled in legal suits that may adversely affect your financial profile, the details will also figure on your credit report. Interestingly, you can discover who had access to your credit report by looking at it yourself. Finally, all the informations required to formally identify you also appear in this report, and that’s why disclosure rules are so strict.
Credit report creators
In Quebec, only credit bureaus (technically named ‘‘personal information agents’’) can create credit reports in accordance with the Loi sur la protection des renseignements personnels dans le secteur privé. If you’re interested by this subject, you’ll find a complete list of Quebec’s credit bureaus by going on the Commission of access to the information’s website, since they all have to register with this organization.
The inputs’ source
Your credit is not as good as you were thinking considering you never had (or not recently) any problem with your bank and/or your credit company? That’s not where the problem comes from. In fact, all the companies and the people that provide you with financing options or with products and services that require long-term, contractual agreements, have their say on your credit report’s content. That includes your landlord, your phone and Internet providers, most retailers that sell furniture and appliances, etc. These entities can thus write down details on your credit report if they have your consent. This last precision is only rhetorical, though: if you’re used to sign contracts without reading them properly first or to accept terms and conditions in haste, you’ve probably given your consent already.
The access to your credit report
All the entities, people and businesses aforementioned can look at your credit report by simply asking a credit bureau, as long as they have your consent (and they do) and they can prove that their request is appropriate given the context of the transaction they want to engage in with you. These constraints don’t seem too ‘‘biting’’, but personal information agents take reasonable steps to protect your privacy: they only reveal to requesters what is really essential to their enquiry. It goes without saying that you can also look at your own credit report when it pleases you by making a written demand to a credit bureau. You’ll have an answer within 30 days and be informed of the fees required, if there are any.
The average duration of an inscription
In Quebec, rules pertaining to the duration of an inscription on a credit report are informal and generally inspired from other provinces’. In theory, an inscription has to be erased as soon as the cause of its inception is realized (once your phone contract comes to an end, for example). Keep in mind that not complying with every single clause of a contract (repeated late payments, in this context) may result in a longer inscription on your report. In average, informations remain on a credit report for 6 of 7 years, but bankruptcy cases are painful because they often cause inscription to figure on your file for as long as 14 years (from the moment you’re discharged).
Credit report change process
Because too much faith is not necessarily a virtue, you should ask to get a look at your credit report once in a while. Indeed, it’s not impossible that an inaccurate, partial or irrelevant information still figures on it. If it’s the case, you should address a change/withdrawal request to the business or the person responsible for the inscription of the said information. If you win your case (and you’ll know that within a month of the reception of your initial request), a credit bureau will proceed with the change.
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