Understanding your credit report and credit score

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How to understand your credit report

By law, negative information can only be kept on your credit report for a certain length of time. For most information, the maximum is six or seven years. The exact amount of time varies by category and by province or territory. Positive information, such as accounts that you paid on time, may be kept longer.

Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada keep your information for different lengths of time, up to the maximum time limits allowed by provincial laws.

Type of information​ How long agencies keep information​ Date when agencies start counting​
Credit transactions
  • Negative information about accounts such as credit cards, lines of credit and loans
  • Also called “trades” or “trade lines” by credit reporting agencies
  • 6 years
 

 

  • Equifax counts from date of last activity (for example, a payment you made)
  • TransUnion counts from date of first delinquency—the date you first defaulted on the account (for example, by making a late payment) without returning to good standing

Secured loans 

  • Loans backed by an asset, such as a mortgage, a car lease or loan
  • 6 years
  • Equifax counts from date of filing
  • TransUnion counts from date of first delinquency

Banking items 

  • Negative information, including:
    • chequing and savings accounts closed “for cause” due to money owing or fraud committed by the account holder
    • bad cheques (also called non-sufficient funds or NSF)

 

  • 6 years
  • Equifax counts from date of transaction or default
  • TransUnion counts from date of write-off or date closed, whichever is sooner

Inquiries

  • Equifax: 3 years
  • TransUnion: 6 years
  • Counted from date inquiry is made






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Type of information​ How long agencies keep information Date when agencies start counting​

Judgments

  • Legal judgments against you and other information in public records
  • 6 years
  • TransUnion: 7 years in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador; 10 years in P.E.I
  • Counted from date of filing

Collections

  • Debts sent to collection agencies
  • 6 years
  • Equifax counts from date the debt is assigned to a collection agency
  • TransUnion counts from date of first delinquency (when the account became delinquent with the original lender, not when it was sent to a collection agency)

Registered items 

  • Items registered in public records, such as a lien against your property

 

  • Equifax: 6 years
  • TransUnion: 5 years
  • Counted from date of filing

Bankruptcy 

  • Legal procedure used as a last resort if you are unable to repay your debts

 

  • 6 years
  • TransUnion only: 7 years in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and P.E.I
  • Counted from date of discharge.
  • If not discharged:
    • Equifax keeps for maximum of 7 years from filing date
    • TransUnion: no time limit

Multiple bankruptcies 

  • Legal procedure used as a last resort if you are unable to repay your debts
  •  14 years

 

  • Counted from date of discharge for each bankruptcy

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Type of information​ How long agencies keep information​ Date when agencies start counting​

Consumer proposals

  • Formal procedure to repay your debts, arranged by licensed insolvency trustee (also known as bankruptcy trustee) or other authorized agent
  • 3 years
  • Equifax counts from date paid.
  • TransUnion counts from date satisfied or 6 years from filing date, whichever is sooner
  • If not paid or satisfied, maximum is 6 years from filing date

Orderly payment of debts (OPD) 

  • Also known as a consolidation order
  • Formal procedure to repay your debts, arranged through a court
  • Only available in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia
  • Equifax: 3 years
  • TransUnion: OPD itself is not reported
  • Equifax counts from date paid
  • TransUnion: individual accounts included in OPD stay on file for 2 years from date OPD is satisfied or 6 years from date of first delinquency, whichever is sooner

Debt management program (DMP) with credit counselling agency 

  • Program to help you repay your debts

    Note: credit counselling by itself (without DMP) is not noted on your credit report

 

  • Equifax: 3 years
  • TransUnion: DMP itself is not reported
  • Equifax counts from date paid. If not paid, counts for a maximum of 6 years from filing date
  • TransUnion: individual accounts included in DMP stay on file for 2 years from date DMP is satisfied or 6 years from date of first delinquency, whichever is sooner

Remarks 

  • Statements you can add to your credit report, including:
    • consumer statements
    • fraud alerts
    • identity verification alerts.
  • 6 years
  • Counts from date reported to agency

 



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