BACK

Expert Q&A

Canadian, US credit scoring systems similar

Summary

While the details differ, credit scoring systems in the neighboring countries are similar — and so are the ways to boost a score

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

Question for the CreditCards.com expertDear Credit Care,
Hello, I live in Canada and my questions are: 1. I have four credit cards and I don’t use two of them. Will canceling them impact my credit score? 2. I have been paying more than minimum payments and so now I want to improve my score. What measure should I take to bring my score on top again and how much is it affected because of minimum payments?  — Anand

Answer for the CreditCards.com expertDear Anand,
Credit reporting and scoring works much the same way in Canada as it does in the U.S. In fact, two of the three major U.S. credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion, also provide credit reporting in Canada. The factors that affect your credit score are very similar as well. You can learn more about both credit reports and credit scores from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s page, “Understanding your credit report and credit score.”

It does not appear that actions such as closing your two credit card accounts will have much affect on your credit score in Canada. The factors that carry the most weight when determining your credit score are your payment history (do you pay on time and as agreed), whether you have declared bankruptcy and the amount of your outstanding credit balances.

Given the factors that affect your credit score the most, you could improve your score by paying down your credit card balances. Paying only the minimum amount due means your balances are not decreasing very quickly. You will get a better rating for your credit card accounts if you pay your balances to a level well below your credit limit. For example, if your current balance is $2,000 and your credit limit is $3,000, you owe two-thirds of your total credit limit. You will want to pay down that balance to less than $1,000 or one-third of your total credit limit and you will see improvement in your credit score. The lower the balance and percentage of credit limit used, the more it will help your score. Even better would be to stop adding, if possible, any new charges to your credit card accounts.

You can also improve your credit score by bringing current any past due accounts that you have listed on your credit report. You can get free copies of your credit report from Equifax and TransUnion by mail. There’s a mail-in form for Equifax and another for TransUnion.

An explanation of the codes that are associated with your accounts will be included in your credit reports. Any accounts that are listed as past due are hurting your credit score. For example, if you missed your car loan payment one month, but then made the subsequent month’s payments on time, your account will still be listed as late. You need to pay the current month’s payment plus the payment that you missed and bring the account current.

Should you have a past bankruptcy on your credit report, it will be removed from your credit reports and no longer negatively affect your credit score six or seven years from the date of discharge, depending on which province or territory you live.

Handle your credit with care!

Meet CreditCards.com’s reader Q&A experts

Does a personal finance problem have you worried? Monday through Saturday, CreditCards.com’s Q&A experts answer questions from readers. Ask a question, or click on any expert to see their previous answers.

 

 

 

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

What’s up next?

In Expert Q&A

Will bankruptcy scare off future spouse?

A single woman in Florida, whose house is underwater, is considering bankruptcy. She worries how that will affect her chances at marriage

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: March 25th, 2020
Business
14.34%
Airline
16.33%
Cash Back
16.55%
Reward
16.49%
Student
16.51%

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company’s business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.