9 Nov 2017

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Financial Literacy Month: Credit 101

November is celebrated in the financial community in Canada as ‘Financial Literacy Month‘:

This year’s FLM theme “Take charge of your finances: It pays to know!” encourages Canadians to take concrete actions to better manage their money and debt, including making a budget, having a savings plan and understanding their financial rights and responsibilities. [Financial Consumer Agency of Canada]

A very basic factor in financial literacy, especially when it comes to getting into the real estate market, is understanding your credit.

During the mortgage application process, lenders look at your credit record and credit score to check how you’ve managed your debts. It’s a smart idea to review your own credit report and score before applying for a loan.

But first, let’s dive into the real basics of credit and credit reports:

What’s included in my credit report?

  • Credit accounts/transactions: credit cards, retail cards, lines of credit and loans
  • Telecommunications accounts: phone and Internet
  • Bad banking history: NSF fees, missed payments, etc.
  • Public records pertaining to credit: bankruptcy, legal judgments, liens, etc.
  • Collection agency debts
  • Inquiries from anyone who has requested your credit report before

Is my mortgage part of my credit report?

Your mortgage information and your history of mortgage payments may appear in your credit report and may count toward your credit score. This depends on the practices of each credit reporting agency. – Government of Canada

How do I obtain my credit report?

Equifax offers a service that will monitor your credit for you and send you alerts when anything changes with your credit (whether good, bad or netural). You can sign up for this service and learn more about it here. Other sources and information on obtaining your report can be found on my website here.

How can I repair my credit?

  • Pay down credit cards and debts
  • Limit the use of your credit cards
  • Know your credit limits
  • Don’t let mistakes build up

More advice for repairing credit can be found in this article: ‘Simple advice for credit-challenged‘. If you have any questions about how to obtain a credit report or tips for staying on top of your credit, please feel free to contact me anytime. Further, you can also reach me via Twitter.

Tags : credit, credit calgary, credit canada, financial literacy month, flm, money calgary, mortgage, mortgage alberta, mortgage calgary, mortgage canada

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