Establishing a good credit history is so important when first arriving in Canada. A strong credit history will be beneficial when applying for a loan, new bank account, credit card, lease, rentals, new cell phone provider and more. Having a good credit score increases your likelihood of obtaining approval for these products and ensures that you get these products at the best possible rate.
If you are new to Canada, we recommend the following steps to begin building your credit history:
- Obtain approval for a low limit credit card. Our Cash Back Mastercard is a great option!
- Obtain a mobile phone. Mobile phone bills can help build credit because they are included on your credit report.
- Always pay your bills on time. This includes loans, credit cards, lines of credits, and all other bills. Make sure that you allow a few days for processing by making your payment at least 3-5 business days before the due date. If you’re not able to pay the full balance, pay at least the minimum payment as stated on your bill. Remember that credit cards typically carry a high interest rate and therefore we do not recommend carrying a balance over into the following month. Making payments on time will ensure that no missed payments are reported on your credit report. Any and all missed payments are reported and will impact your credit score negatively.
- Limit the number of inquiries on your credit bureau. Each time you apply for a new loan or credit card you will be asked for consent to pull your credit report. Regular inquiries can impact your credit history.
- Use credit wisely and do not apply for debts that you are not able to afford comfortably. We can provide some tips on how to determine this.
- Avoid applying for high interest debts, pay day loans, or cash advances. These typically carry very high interest rates that may result in you being unable to repay. Please talk to your financial institution first if you’re in a situation where you may be looking at this.
- Monitor your credit report annually to ensure that there are no unknown issues. In Canada there are two credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion, both of which can provide you access to your credit reports.
- Keep your personal information private and destroy any documentation that contains personally identifiable information (such as SIN, full name, address). This information could be used to apply for credit in your name fraudulently. If you believe that your personal information has been compromised, reach out to the credit reporting agencies to place an alert on your credit report.
Building up your credit may seem complicated, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Westoba is here to explain everything and walk you through the process. We’re here to help! Call 1-877-WESTOBA or click here to make an appointment.