How do I find my credit score?

Credit score and insurance costs are linked. If you have a bad credit score then you will not get certain discounts. So your insurance will cost you more. If you are hoping to finance a vehicle or buy a home then you want to have a good credit score.

Taya Weiszhaar is a mortgage broker that has provided us with this information on credit score. Getting control of this part of your life isn't as hard as you think.

Taya says, "When it comes to credit scores, 720 or above is where you want to be. Three years ago, Nicole Sanders, a Vancouver-based marketing consultant, 33, was sitting not so pretty with a score of 455. Not paying bills on time, having a large debt-to-credit ratio, and a credit card bill sent to collections, were just a few of the things that helped sink her score.

Today Ms. Sanders (not her real name) has a score above 720. She got there by figuring out where she was, how she got there and what specific steps she should take to improve. If you’re looking to purchase a home or car or just prepare for a future event that could require some sort of financing, then you may want to incorporate a few of the same tactics Ms. Sanders used to raise her score.

Know your number
Credit scores range from 300 to 900. A higher score could translate into thousands saved over the life of a loan. Someone with a score above 760 could pay thousands of dollars less in interest per year on a mortgage than someone whose score is 600. For around $22, you can view your score online at either Equifax or TransUnion. Your score will also come with a detailed report of your financial history.

Scan your report
Laurie Hollowell, 28, an elementary school teacher in Calgary, recently looked into qualifying for a mortgage and was told she had to fix her credit first. She didn't understand why. As far as she knew, she was in good standing. Apparently she unknowingly had a final phone bill sent to her university home, in a different province, which she never received and it eventually went to collections. “I had no idea this bill even existed. It took me a while to get this sorted and it slowed the mortgage approval process quite a bit. I was just glad I didn’t have to move too quickly, or miss an opportunity, due to this mix-up,” she says.

It’s best to know you’re in good standing prior to applying for any type of loan. If you order your credit score online, it will come with a detailed report of your history. If you’re only interested in viewing your financial history, you can do that for free. You can either call Equifax at 1-800-465-7166 or TransUnion at 1-800-663-9980. You can also request a free copy on either of their sites, but phoning is far easier to do and your report will arrive within the week.

We always recommend that you try to take control of your insurance. Finding out your credit score and then doing something about improving it is a smart move to make. No one should know more about you then yourself.