Understanding Credit: Who Can See & Use Your Credit

Credit bureaus follow rules that define who can see your credit report and how they can use it. Those allowed to see your credit report include:

  • banks, credit unions and other financial institutions

  • credit card companies

  • car leasing companies

  • retailers

  • mobile phone companies

  • insurance companies

  • governments

  • employers

  • landlords

These businesses or individuals use your credit report to help them make decisions about you. These decisions could be to:

  • lend you money

  • collect a debt

  • consider you for rental housing

  • consider you for a job

  • provide you with insurance

  • offer you a promotion

  • offer you a credit increase

When a lender or other organization “checks your credit” or “pulls your report,” it's accessing your credit report at the credit bureau. This is usually recorded on your credit report as an inquiry. If there are too many credit checks, or inquiries on your credit report, lenders may be concerned. It can seem like you're urgently seeking credit. Or, it can look like you're trying to live beyond your means.

Consent & Credit Checks

In general, you need to give permission, or your consent, for a business or individual to use your credit report. In the following provinces a business or individual only needs to tell you that they are checking your credit report:

  • Nova Scotia

  • Prince Edward Island

  • Saskatchewan

Other provinces require written consent to check your credit report. When you sign an application for credit, you allow the lender to access your credit report. Your consent generally lets the lender use your credit report when you first apply and anytime afterward while your account is open. In many cases, your consent also lets the lender share information about you with the credit bureaus if your application is approved.

Some provincial laws allow government representatives to see parts of your credit report without your consent. This includes judges and police.

Next week we will discuss what’s all included in your credit report.

Source: www.cra.ca (Financial Consumer Agency of Canada)