Along with the credit histories of millions of other people, your credit history is recorded in files maintained by at least one of Canada's major credit-reporting agencies: Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. It is possible to obtain your credit file for free. Please consult the agencies' websites in order to obtain more information. These files are called credit reports. A credit report is a "snapshot" of your credit history. It is one of the main tools lenders use to decide whether or not to give you credit.
Your credit file is created when you first borrow money or apply for credit. On a regular basis, companies that lend money or issue credit cards to you, including banks, finance companies, credit unions, retailers, send specific information related to the financial transactions they have with you to credit reporting agencies.
Some credit-reporting agencies report the lenders' rating of each of your credit history items on a scale of 1 to 9. A rating of "1" means you pay your bills within 30 days of the due date. A rating of "9" means that you never pay your bills at all or that you have made a consumer debt repayment proposal to the lender. A letter will also appear in front of the number: for example, I2, O2, R2. The letter stands for the type of the credit you are using.
- "I" means you were given credit on an installment basis, such as for a car loan, where you borrow money once and repay it in fixed amounts, on a regular basis, for a specific period of time until the loan is paid off.
- "O" means you have open credit such as a line of credit, where you borrow money, as needed, up to a certain limit and the total balance is due at the end of each period. This category may also include student loans, for which the money may not be owing until you are out of school.
- "R" means you have "revolving" credit, where you make regular payments in varying amounts depending on the balance of your account, and can then borrow more money up to your credit limit. Credit cards are a good example of "revolving" credit.
The most common ratings are "R" ratings. These are known as North American Standard Account Ratings and are the most frequently used. The "R" indicates that the item being described involves revolving credit. If you always pay on time, it will be coded an R1. If an amount was written off because you never paid it back, it is coded R9. The R ratings are a coding system that translates "on time", "one month late", "two months late", etc., into two-digit codes.
North American Standard Account Ratings : "R" Ratings
|R0: Too new to rate; approved but not used.|
|R1: Pays (or paid) within 30 days of payment due date or not over one payment past due.|
|R2: Pays (or paid) in more than 30 days from payment due date, but not more than 60 days, or not more than two payments past due.|
|R3: Pays (or paid) in more than 60 days from payment due date, but not more than 90 days, or not more than three payments past due.|
|R4: Pays (or paid) in more than 90 days from payment due date, but not more than 120 days, or four payments past due.|
|R5: Account is at least 120 days overdue, but is not yet rated "9."|
|R6: This rating does not exist.|
|R7: Making regular payments through a special arrangement to settle your debts.|
|R8: Repossession (voluntary or involuntary return of merchandise).|
|R9: Bad debt; placed for collection; moved without giving a new address or bankruptcy.|
NOTE : Other rating indicators that might be found on a report are "I" for installment credit or "O" for open credit line.