Five ways to check your credit score for free

At least two of the banks I deal with offer a no-cost way to check my credit score online.

I say at least because I have accounts at many banks and haven’t visited them all lately. But if I want to check my credit score, I know I have a couple of go-to options. What about you?

Your credit score is increasingly important as an indicator of how you manage not only your debts, but also your life. Lenders check your credit score, of course. Landlords may also take a look, and insurance companies and prospective employers.

Given the importance of your credit score, it’s important to see where you stand at least once per year. For ideas on where to find your score at no cost, I asked people in my Twitter community what they do. Check out the replies for a wide range of options that include:

  • Bank websites and mobile apps: Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Royal Bank of Canada are among the banks that offer access to credit scores.
  • Equifax: This credit-monitoring company offers free access to your credit score.
  • Borrowell: An online marketplace for loans and other financial products.
  • Credit Karma: Matches you to financial products and receives referral fees.
  • Verified.Me: A service from Interac that helps you verify your identity online; Toronto-Dominion Bank offers access to credit scores through this channel.

Credit scores range from 300 to 900, with 760 and up considered excellent. Between 660 and 724 is considered good, while 725 to 759 is very good.

Use the credit scores you get for free as a rough guide to your credit score. Lenders and others may access somewhat different numbers when they connect with Equifax and TransUnion, the other big credit monitoring company in Canada.

Checking your credit score online is considered a “soft inquiry,” which means it has no effect on your score. A “hard inquiry,” where a lender sizes you up as a client, is a different story. Your credit score could drop if you have multiple hard inquiries.


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Rob’s personal finance reading list

A history of mortgage rates

Useful perspective here on how mortgage rates in the 1980s, the 2010s and today compare, with reference to housing prices. Rates were sky high in the ‘80s, but today’s high home prices have a big impact on costs.

Benefits of buying an older condo

New condo buildings offer the latest design touches and appliances, but there are benefits to older buildings. More space and predicable fees are a couple of advantages.

Inflation, Mickey Mouse-style

A sobering report on rising costs for visiting Disney parks that are struggling to keep the old magic going.

Home renos for seniors

This article on retrofitting a home to make it accessible for aging seniors has some useful cost guidelines for various projects, including the addition of an entryway wheelchair ramp and various bathroom adjustments.


Ask Rob

Q: Virtual banks offer good savings rates. They also offer good ways to transfer money electronically between banks. Any drawbacks?

A: The big drawback is that there are no branches to visit if you have a problem. Virtual banks can help clients by phone and sometimes e-mail or online chat, though. Safety-wise, virtual banks are like their bricks-and-mortar counterparts in offering deposit insurance via Canada Deposit Insurance Corp. or provincial credit union plans.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.


Attention crypto investors

Did you go big on cryptocurrencies during the pandemic? The Globe is looking to speak with new and seasoned investors who have suffered crypto losses. What is your outlook on the sector? To share your story, in a judgment-free zone, e-mail Globe reporter Salmaan Farooqui at sfarooqui@globeandmail.com.


Today’s financial tool

The WhatBank.ca credit card finder connects you and your personal spending habits to the credit cards that deliver the kind of rewards you want. WhatBank says that, unlike some other financial websites, it doesn’t get paid referral fees when visitors to its site click over to a card issuer’s website.


The Money-Free Zone

Spend 22 minutes with a Canadian music great – Willie Dunn. This 2013 video was shot several months before he died. Dunn, also an activist and politician (he ran for the federal NDP in my Ottawa riding), was a folk singer telling Indigenous stories.


Watch this

How does a credit score affect the rest of your finances?


In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories
  • Why don’t I tie my child’s weekly allowance to chores? Because I want her to have a healthy relationship with money
  • Major mortgage lenders let borrowers shift unpaid interest onto principal to cope with rising costs
  • The high yields of covered-call ETFs come with hidden costs

More Rob Carrick and money coverage

Subscribe to Stress Test on Apple podcasts or Spotify. For more money stories, follow me on Instagram and Twitter, and join the discussion on my Facebook page. Millennial readers, join our Gen Y Money Facebook group.

Even more coverage from Rob Carrick:

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