What is a Credit Rating?

What is a Credit Rating?

Every piece of credit history information in your credit file is assigned a rating by the credit grantor. The most common ratings are “R” ratings. These are known as North American Standard Account Ratings. 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. Take note that now in common use by most credit grantors is a numerical system called FICO or Beacon score. It is not usually included in the free credit report you order. The standard credit ratings are listed below:


Your Credit Rating – What it Means

R0      Too new to rate; approved but not used
R1      Pays (or paid) within 30 days of billing or pays as agreed
R2      Pays in more than 30 days but less than 60 days, or not more than two payments past due
R3     Pays in more than 60 days from payment due date, but less 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”
R7     Making regular payments through a special arrangement to settle your debts re:        O.P.D. or Proposal
R8      Repossession (voluntary or involuntary return of merchandise)
R9      Bad debt; placed for collection; moved without giving a new address; bankruptcy

Other rating indicators that might be found on a report are “I” for installment credit or “O” for open credit line.


Investigating Your Own Credit Rating

Under consumer legislation governed by each province, you are entitled to a copy of all the information a credit agency has on you.

There are three credit reporting agencies in Canada: Equifax, Northern Credit Bureaus and Trans Union.

If you want a copy of your credit report, mail or fax a request with copies of two pieces of identification to the companies. In a couple of weeks, they will mail your report to you. The service is free. They will not discuss credit reports of the phone but you can go to their office and ask to see your report.

If you do not wish to wait, you can visit the offices of Credit Counselling Services of Alberta in Calgary or Edmonton to obtain a copy of your Equifax Credit Report. The cost is $15.00 and you must bring 2 pieces of ID. ORpurchase your credit report online from Equifax for $14.50

You can dispute errors in your report. Information on how to dispute bad information is included in the written credit report you will receive from the bureau. However, credit bureaux are not meant to be consumer friendly and it can be extremely difficult to change or correct information on your report.

The credit bureau is obligated to review your complaints, however you must supply all the material they ask for on their forms. The forms, which accompany your personal credit report, explain how to file disputes and get corrections made. It can be a drawn out process, but be persistent.

If the credit bureau won’t correct your file, ask them to mark the file “in dispute.” You may also exercise your right to have a statement (100 words or less) inserted into your credit report to explain your side of the story to potential creditors.

There is no shortcut to erasing bad credit records. Organizations who offer quick fixes are interested in your money and in reality cannot do very much for you. We strongly recommend they be avoided.

A final note: if you cannot get the agency to make changes, you may want to contact your provincial consumer department. In Alberta, try contactingAlberta Government Services.

Equifax Canada
Consumer Relations Department
Box 190 Jean Talon Station
Montreal, Quebec
H1S 2Z2
Tel: ( 514 ) 493-2314
1 800 465-7166
Fax: ( 514 ) 355-8502
Purchase your credit report online from Equifax for $14.50OR download and send them them Request Form. Equifax Credit Rating
Request Form
 (PDF)To request a copy of your credit rating, download and print the above form.Fill out the form, then mail or fax the form along with copies of two pieces of identification. In a couple of weeks, they will mail your report to you.

Trans Union
Consumer Relations
709 Main Street W Suite 3201
Hamilton, On L8S 1A2
Tel: 1 800 663 9980
Fax: ( 905 ) 527-0401


Trans Union
#202, 1409 Edmonton Trail NE
Calgary, Alberta T2E 3K8
Phone: (403) 276-7808
Fax: (403) 230-3835 Cost: $15.00


Northern Credit Bureaus
336 Rideau Boulevard
Rouyn – Noranda, QC J9X 1P2
Fax: 1 (800) 646-5876

Northern is also a collection agency.

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