Everything You Need to Know About Equifax

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Alexandre Desoutter updated on 21 October 2022

Checking your credit report and score can be scary. Credit in Canada is complex and not as transparent as it could be.

It is critical to keep on top of it though because what’s in your credit report affects your ability to borrow. Want a credit card? A competitive mortgage rate? You’ll need to maintain a solid score. Without one, credit becomes expensive or even hard to come by.

Below we explore the role Equifax plays in determining and reporting your credit score. Learn how Equifax works, how to get your free credit report, what information makes it into your credit report and how to report an error if they make a mistake.

How do I get an Equifax credit report?

You may request a free copy of your Equifax credit score and report through one of the following options:

Keep in mind

Mail your completed request form to:

Equifax Canada Co.

Consumer Relations Department

Box 190 Jean Talon Station

Montreal, Quebec

H1S 2Z2

Finally, you can get your free credit report by visiting one of the three locations below.

OfficeTorontoHalifaxCharlottetown
Address
5700 Yonge Street, Concourse Level
Toronto, ON M2M 4K2
1718 Argyle Street, Suite 720
Halifax, NS B3J 3N6
155 Belvedere Avenue, Suite 200
Charlottetown, PE C1A 8B9
Hours
Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm ETHours of operation: Monday-Friday, 9 am-4:30 pm ATHours of operation: Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-4:30 pm AT
Equifax Canada offices

Good to know

Be sure to take two pieces of government-issued ID and proof of your address. Photocopies and electronic documents are not accepted.

Finding negative items on your report or seeing a low score is frustrating. They affect your ability to borrow and may increase your rates, so it makes sense to boost it before a big purchase on credit. Shaving a little of your mortgage rate can save you thousands in the long term. Learn more about improving credit scores and how a credit builder loan can help.

Shop credit builder loans now

Better credit starts here

What is Equifax?

Equifax is one of Canada’s two major credit bureaus. Along with TransUnion, it compiles a record of how you use credit, how much you borrow and if you pay it off on time to create your credit score. Think of the number as a grade that indicates your potential creditworthiness.

Credit bureaus themselves do not make decisions about whom to lend to, but lenders check these credit reports. This data is used by lenders to decide if they want to give you a great car loan rate, a credit card or extend other types of credit. That’s not all! Potential landlords and employers can even look at it. In some cases, they choose not to lend to people with low scores and negative items on their reports.

Good to know

In most of Canada a business or individual needs written consent before checking a credit report. This is usually included during the initial application for credit.

What is the difference between a credit score and a credit report?

A credit report records your credit history. It includes the amounts you borrowed, your repayment history and credit utilization.

Equifax takes these data points to create a score between 300 and 900. The higher the number, the better your credit score. Your credit score will appear on your credit report. It's a quick "grade". Potential lenders may have cutoffs and refuse to extend a product to someone under, say, a 700. If they want to study your credit history more they'll delve into the report to better understand your situation before lending.

When you pay off your credit card and loans on time it is reflected on your credit report and increases your score. Miss a loan payment or hold a high balance on a credit card and it will drop.

What is in my credit report?

Your credit report may contain your current and previous addresses and employers. It will also contain your social insurance number, date of birth and employment information. Mortgage defaults or bankruptcies which are public records also appear in your report.

The bulk of your report, however, is your history of using and requesting credit. Many, but not all, lenders report to these bureaus monthly if you’re repaying them. When you inquire about new loans, it is reported to Equifax and added to your credit report.

Your credit report contains letters and numbers. Here is how to decode them:

A letter on a credit report refers to the type of loan it is:

LetterRefers to Example
I
Installment credit: You borrow money for a specific period making regular payments until you pay it off.Personal loan
O
Open status credit: You may borrow up to a specific limit when needed.Line of credit
R
Revolving or recurring credit: You may borrow money on an ongoing basis up to a specific limit. You make regular payments in varying amounts depending on the outstanding.Credit card
M
Mortgage: An installment loan on your principal residence.Mortgage
Equifax credit report: Credit types

The number on a credit report refers to your repayment history for that item, ranked from 1 to 9.

NumberRefers to
0
  • Too new to rate
  • Approved, but not yet used
1
  • Paid within 30 days of billing
  • Pays as agreed
2
Late payment: 31 to 59 days late
3
Late payment: 60 to 89 days late
4
Late payment: 90 to 119 days late
5
Late payment: more than 120 days late
6
Not used
7
Making regular payments using a debt management option:
  • a consolidation order
  • orderly payment of debts
  • consumer proposal
  • debt management program with a credit counselling agency
8
Repossession
9
  • Written off as a “bad debt”
  • Sent to a collections agency
  • Bankruptcy
Equifax credit report: number ratings

How are Equifax credit scores calculated?

Equifax uses a model to determine your score. Positive and negative data points from your credit report are placed in the below five categories with these approximate weights for each category.

Payment history: 35%

It helps improve your score when you make on-time credit payments. Don't miss those car payments or personal loan payments. Even if you can't pay off your credit card in full, be sure to pay at least the minimum. Missed and late payments harm it.

Credit utilization ratio: 30%

How much of your available credit you use also impacts your score. Lenders like to see that you are responsible with your available credit. That means only regularly using a fraction of what you could use. Maintain a high utilization ratio for too long and you’ll see a negative impact on your overall credit score. Avoid maxing out your credit cards and carrying a high balance from month to month.

Credit history: 15%

This portion of your credit file details how long your credit accounts have been open. Long-held accounts improve your score because it shows an extended period of responsible credit use. Opening a new account can temporarily drop your score.

Public Records: 10%

Bankruptcies, bills sent to collections and other derogatory public records significantly decrease your credit score.

Inquiries: 10%

When you apply for a new loan or credit card, most lenders will first check your credit report. This is referred to as a “hard inquiry”. Several inquiries close to one another can be seen as a warning sign and drag down your score. Fortunately, credit score drops from inquiries are usually temporary,

From these 5 factors, Equifax scores Canadian consumers on a scale from 300 and 900. Higher scores indicate better credit. Keep in mind that a credit score is not set in stone. It’s a snapshot of where you are today. Paying down high balances and making regular payments will help increase your credit score if it’s lower than you’d like it to be.

Can I dispute my credit score?

It isn’t possible to dispute a credit score, but you can dispute pieces of information that appear on your credit report. If you ever notice something that appears to be inaccurate, bring it to Equifax's attention. Getting it removed from your report will help help your score and give lenders a more accurate picture of who you are.

How do I file a dispute with Equifax?

To file a dispute with Equifax you may fill out their electronic dispute form here.

Complete it electronically, attach documentation and email it to Equifax.

Alternatively, you may print it and physically mail it with supporting documentation to this mail address.

Keep in mind

Mail your completed dispute form to:

Equifax Canada Co.

Consumer Relations Department

Box 190 Jean Talon Station

Montreal, Quebec

H1S 2Z2

Be sure to attach identity documents and proof supporting your dispute claim. This may include:

  • Proof of Identity (government-issued ID, birth certificate)
  • A bill confirming your name and address
  • Account Information (a letter from creditors, bank statements, proof of identity theft)
  • Bankruptcy discharge paperwork, release letter from creditors

Good to know

Include your Equifax Unique Number provided from your Equifax credit report to expedite the process.

Once you submit your dispute, Equifax will open an investigation. Equifax will process your dispute in approximately 10-15 days for electronic submission and 15-20 days by mail.

They will contact the creditor for verification. Once this process is complete, they will notify you of the outcome using the same method that you initiated the dispute, electronically or by mail. They may change or delete the information if it is deemed inaccurate. If the creditor verifies that the items are accurate, the item will remain on your credit report.

If you have negative items on your credit report that you can't get removed, start taking steps to improve your credit today. Learn more below.

Take steps to fix your credit now

Better credit starts here

How can I cancel my Equifax membership?

Besides the annual required free credit report, Equifax offers monthly subscriptions like Equifax Complete Premier with daily reports, credit report alerts and identity theft insurance and restoration services. Equifax Complete Friends and Family extends these services to two adults.

Call the Customer Care team at 1-866-820-8911 to cancel Equifax Complete Premier or another service.

Customer service representatives are available every day of the week from 8:00 am-12:00 am ET.

Watch out!

Note that you can’t prevent Equifax from compiling a credit report about you. You can only cancel your subscription to Equifax's paid products and services.

How can I contact Equifax?

There are a few phone numbers to use to reach Equifax depending on what you need assistance with. Here are the most requested contact numbers.

PurposePhone NumberTime
General inquires
1-800-871-32509:00 am to 5 pm
(Mondays through Fridays)
To request a free copy of your credit report
1-800-465-716624/7
(Automated)
Identity-related Alerts
1-800-465-716624/7
(Automated)
Registering for an Equifax Product
1-800-871-32509:00 am to 5 pm
(Mondays through Fridays)
Assistance with or cancelling an Equifax product
1-866-820-89119:00 am to 5 pm
(Mondays through Fridays)
Resetting online password
1-800-871-32509:00 am to 5 pm
(Mondays through Fridays)
Equifax contact information

Call 1-800-871-3250 to reach Equifax Canada for general inquiries. A representative will be available to help you Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET.

The general mailing address for Equifax is:

Keep in mind

Equifax Canada Co.

National Consumer Relations

Box 190

Montreal, Quebec H1S 2Z2

Equifax vs TransUnion

Wondering why your Equifax score is lower than your TransUnion score? Or why something appears on your TransUnion credit report, but not on the Equifax credit report equivalent? Don't worry, it is normal.

Equifax and TransUnion operate similar credit reporting services, but the companys’ models differ. They don't always weigh each item the same way. On top of that, one bureau may not have all or up-to-date personnel because not every lender reports to both bureaus.

Neither Equifax nor TransUnion is better ot more credible than the other. Both are widely used and your potential lender could pull from either one of them.

Good to know

It’s important to check both of your reports regularly.

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Alexandre Desoutter
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Alexandre Desoutter has been working as editor-in-chief and head of press relations at HelloSafe since June 2020. A graduate of Sciences Po Grenoble, he worked as a journalist for several years in French media, and continues to collaborate as a as a contributor to several publications.