Credit reports for entrepreneurs
One of the first things any lender will look at to determine whether or not to grant you a business loan is your personal credit report.
The higher your credit score, the better your chances of getting a business loan, although other criteria, such as your business plan, your financial statement and projections, and the type of collateral you offer are just as important.
Make sure you have this information on hand before meeting with your banker to improve your chances of getting the financing you need. A good credit score will also help you qualify for a loan at a lower interest rate.
How do credit reports help?
It is important to regularly check your personal credit report to:
- take the necessary steps to improve your credit score
- verify the accuracy of the information
- recognize signs of identity theft
- ensure it no longer lists debts that you’ve already paid
- promptly request corrections should you find any errors
- negotiate better terms with vendors or insurers
What kind of information does a credit report contain?
A credit report may include:
- your personal identification information
- your credit score
- your banking information and authorized limits
- a list of your credit cards, lines of credit and loans
- mortgage information
- your credit history
- your loan repayment history
- credit inquiries from lenders
- total debt
- debt sent to collection agencies
- consumer statements
- fraud alerts
- public records such as judgments, bankruptcy and insolvencies
- recommendations from the credit bureau
Keep in mind that credit bureaus collect and report information differently, so reports from different agencies will vary. Consider asking more than one provider for your credit report.
Free and low cost credit reports
If you need to obtain your credit report for free or a relatively small fee, consider the following providers. Most banks also offer this information to their clients for free. It’s worth asking for.
Borrowell gives you free access to your Equifax credit score and report and shares personalized tips to help you improve your credit health. Proudly Canadian, Borrowell uses your credit profile to suggest financial products such as credit cards, mortgages and loans, and receives a small referral fee each time you buy one of them.
Credit Karma pulls your credit score and report from two of the big credit bureaus: TransUnion and Equifax. Credit Karma is able to provide this service for free because it uses the information you provide when you sign up to show you personalized ads from partners and advertisers. Please note that subscribers often report higher scores with Credit Karma than with Equifax or TransUnion. Credit Karma has recently been acquired by fintech company Intuit.
Equifax Canada is one of the two credit bureaus in Canada (the other being TransUnion Canada) that is required by law to provide your personal credit report at no charge. If you have a myEquifax account, you can download your Equifax credit report for free. Otherwise, you can request it by phone, by mail or by visiting one of their office locations. This free report, however, does not include your credit score. Consider their optional paid service for the convenience of accessing your credit score and credit history instantly online or for credit monitoring services. As of February 1, 2023, Quebec residents have the right to place a lock on their Equifax credit report to prevent fraud and identity theft.
TransUnion Canada lets you view and download your free Consumer Disclosure online once a month. A Consumer Disclosure does not include your TransUnion credit score. However, in order to comply with the Quebec Credit Assessment Agents Act, Quebec residents are entitled to see their score and score factors on their consumer disclosure. If you prefer, you can obtain a copy free of charge upon request by phone, mail or in person at one of their provincial offices. Visit their website to learn about the benefits of credit monitory and what you can do to take control of your finances.
This table lists applications alphabetically and isn’t exhaustive. Hyperlinks to external sites do not constitute endorsement by BDC of those websites or any information, opinions, products or services expressed or described on them.
Furthermore, the list is only a starting point and excludes applications not offered either in English or in French, or that are neither low cost nor free. When assessing which solution is best for your organization, you will probably consider many other factors.
BDC will review and edit this list regularly. If you are a provider of credit reports for entrepreneurs and would like us to consider adding your solution, please contact us.