What's a credit score? (And its everyday uses)

Well, first let’s talk about what a credit report is. Your credit report shows your history of borrowing and details on any loans you’ve taken out, as well as other info like how many times you get your credit checked and how close you are to maxing out your balance. Oh yeah, and if you’ve been avoiding those parking tickets or your phone bill from 2011, those get written up in your report too.

The score is calculated based on secret algorithms using all the above—and more. It can be a measure of risk for lenders who are thinking about whether they want to offer you credit. Generally, they look at your credit score to judge whether you’d be prone to doing things like not paying your bills on time, maxing out your credit cards, etc. etc.

But, if you don’t ever use credit, that could also lower your score as you’re not showing that you’re capable of managing credit like a grownup.

Canadians’ credit scores

Who’s looking at my credit score?

Lenders and Financial Institutions

Lenders and financial institutions rely on a credit score and report to determine if you’re credit-worthy or not. So… if you’re doing one of the following and need to borrow money to do it, your credit score is likely going to be involved in:

Generally, a low score could mean getting declined or getting charged higher interest rates, while a high score opens the door to lower interest rates and better deals when borrowing money / getting a mortgage.

Landlords

Landlords are using credit scores more and more, so if your score sucks, you might not get approved to rent the apartment you’ve been eyeing. Sad times.

Employers

In the United States, 47% employers run credit checks when they’re looking at hiring you—and if you think that has nothing to do with you, it’s becoming more and more common in Canada as well.

The Business World

When you get a small business loan for a biz that’s new with no established credit history, the lender might want to see your personal credit to determine worthiness.

For example: I sell geranium arrangements and I need ceramic pots from a supplier who will let me pay the invoice 60 days after the order’s received. The supplier will probably want to see a personal credit check first before offering me supplier credit. (What if I have a habit of skipping town without paying my bills??)

Your Bae

The Federal Reserve reported that having a higher credit score is correlated with being more likely to stay in a committed relationship. AND, in a new relationship, every 100 points that your credit or partner’s credit score improves will increase your chances of staying together for another year by 30%. Crazy.

Who knew that having your financial sh*t together would be so important?

Where can I see my credit score?

When you sign up for a free MogoAccount, you get your credit score... for free (paid for by us, provided by Equifax Canada), along with access to credit when you need it and a Platinum Prepaid Visa® Card to help control your spending.


Chantel Chapman is Mogo's Financial Fitness Coach and Credit Score Expert. She teaches you how to be an adult, and is also the host of our Adulting 101 events. With over a decade’s experience as a mortgage broker, Chantel recognized a need for financial education with many of her first-time homebuyers, so she began creating custom content to help guide them. Chantel is the founder of Holler For Your Dollar, a consulting firm that jump-starts anyone who’s ready to dive into the world of Adulting or entrepreneurship. Her role at Mogo puts her skills to use creating and teaching digestible, yet educational financial literacy content geared to millennials and daring entrepreneurs.

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