Understanding the Credit Report

I have just received the Credit Alert package from TD. It’s a new service from their Marketing department that monitors all credit card activities and reports to you any changes. It’s a neat service, which also lets you check your credit score on the fly. I was pitched with the fear of identity theft which is a major concern for most people. I am personally concerned as well and would use it on a regular basis… once I have money! For now, I just wanted to see my credit score and hence I signed up. Here’s the break down of the package and a bare overview of the components making up the credit score.

The package sums up how the credit score is calculated “how much debt you have and how timely you are when you pay your bills”. Is it really this simple?

Similar to an Equifax report, it lists all the institutions who have made inquiries about your credit standing along with all of your credit cards and their historical information.

The package also comes with online protection software for your computer – ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite and the PrivacyProtect Anti-keylogging.

This is good to know – the Canadian Provincial Credit Reporting Laws

Consumers are granted important rights regarding credit reporting related matters. The rights may vary from province to province but generally include the right to (here’s only a few points I think would be relevant for this post)

  • Receive a free copy of your credit report by mail, if you request it in a written statement include a photocopy of identification (can this in itself be a source for identity theft? I think absolutely)
  • Know what your credit file contains and be told by a credit reporting agency the nature, substance, and sources of the information
  • Review your credit file in person
  • Know who has received your credit file in the past year (BC)
  • Have derogatory, credit-related information deleted beyond the time limits (usually 6 or 7 years)
  • Have old bankruptcies deleted (time limits vary) unless you have more than one

Do this before someone else does – request a free credit report now. The package doesn’t include the reporting agency’s address but I think it’s Equifax. Let me know if that’s the one. Long-lived credit cards!

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