What is a Credit Bureau?

Credit Bureau Definition

A Credit Bureau is the agency that collects credit information, a Credit Report is the history of an individual's credit.

A credit bureau is a business that collects credit information of individuals and provides that information, for a fee, to potential credit lenders, employers or others. In Canada, there are two main credit bureaus, Equifax and Trans Union. Lending institutions, collection agencies and other credit companies will notify these three companies about the status of their individual accounts on a periodic basis.

The credit bureaus will then compile this information, matching the information supplied with each consumer, to create a credit history of the individual. Based on the credit history, the credit bureau will apply a credit score to the individual.

Information Collected

A credit bureau will collect payment information about your car loans, personal bank loans, credit cards, student loans and lines of credit. This includes information about how much was borrowed, whether the payments have been timely, whether an account was transferred to a collection agency. At this time only a few lenders report the payment history on mortgages but it is expected that in the near future, all lenders will participate in reporting mortgage information to the credit bureaus.

The credit bureaus will also search public records to determine if any tax liens have been filed against you. They will search court records to determine if you have been sued on a debt, had a mortgage foreclosed previously, or filed bankruptcy in the past.

The credit information will have an effect on your credit score, both good and bad. Timely payments, borrowing within your means and paying off previous accounts has a positive effect on your credit score. Conversely, late payments, collection accounts and collection judgments will negatively affect your score.

This information is kept for a period of time, usually 7 years, before it is required to be removed. If the information is incorrect, the individual has a right to dispute the reporting of the information. To do so, you need to obtain a copy of your credit report, and notify the credit bureau in writing, identifying the incorrect portion of the report and why it is incorrect.

Most consumer lenders subscribe to credit bureaus to obtain the collected information. Though a credit bureau can, in most cases, only release the information on your permission, most lenders will refuse to lend you funds without consent to review your credit history. So, though a credit bureau will not provide information without your consent, your ability to obtain credit may depend on your consent.

Credit Bureau Contact Information

If you need to contact a credit bureau directly, the contact information is as follows:

Equifax Canada Inc.
Consumer Relations Department
Box 190 Jean Talon Station
Montreal, Quebec
H1S 2Z2

Trans Union of Canada
(For all provinces except Quebec) Telephone
1–800-663–9980 or (905) 525–0262
7:00 AM until 8:00 PM EST
Monday to Friday

Trans Union of Canada Inc.
Consumer Relations Center
PO Box 338, LCD 1
Hamilton, Ontario
L8L 7W2 (For Quebec residents) Telephone number
1–877-713–3393 or (514) 335–0374
8:30 AM until 9:00 PM EST
Monday to Friday

Mailing Address
Trans Union (Echo Group)
1600 Henry Bourassa Boul Ouest
Suite 200
Montreal, PQ

H3M 3E2 Equifax Phone number:
8:00 AM until 5:00 PM EST, Monday to Friday

At First Foundation, reviewing credit reports from credit bureaus are a large part of our business. In reviewing your credit history and credit score, we can best determine whether you are eligible for a mortgage, and what type of mortgage you may obtain. We know what type of credit score lenders seek, and will do our best to match your credit score with an appropriate lender.

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If you are interested in learning more about the Credit Bureaus, please feel free to contact us today!

Last updated Jan 14, 2019