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Many years ago, if you wanted to borrow money from a lender, the lender (usually a bank) would try to determine how trustworthy you are. They would contact your previous lenders, consult with your references, look at your balance sheet, and then if all of those sources came back positive, your bank would lend you money.
That process took a lot of time and often left borrowers without enough lending history or references out of options. The credit score was developed to streamline this process and show lenders at a glance how creditworthy you are.
Your credit score is a numerical expression of your creditworthiness. It is a number between 300 and 900, and it tells your bank whether or not to they should lend you money. Landlords and even employers sometimes also use your credit score as a reflection of your financial situation.
Factors that Determine Your Credit Score
Five factors impact your credit score. They are:
Your payment history on all of your accounts. Making late payments will lower your credit score. For example: If you are late on your credit card payments, or you have an overdue cell phone bill.
The balances on your credit cards as a percentage of their limits. A nearly maxed out credit card will negatively impact your credit score. Lenders see this as a red flag that may signal financial distress. Ideally, your credit card will never have more than 35% of the balance.
For example, if you have a $5,000 credit card, you shouldn't let the balance go over $1,750.
Another factor that affects your credit score is the length of your credit history. A long history is better than a short one.
The number of times banks have checked your credit score recently will also affect it. More than three inquiries at once will affect your credit score because it is a red flag that you may be in financial trouble. If you are shopping around for a new credit card, tell your loan officer not to pull your credit score until you have given them your express permission.
The types of credit you have. Having several types of credit illustrates that you can successfully manage multiple financial responsibilities.
For example, I had student loans, a car loan, a credit card, a line of credit, and a cell phone account. My credit score is higher than my husband’s because he has only one credit card.
How to Check Your Credit Score
There are two credit reporting agencies in Canada – Equifax and Transunion. Both companies will allow you to pull your credit score from them by mail here and here.
You can also use the company websites to pay to see your credit score instantly. Both Equifax and Transunion will also show you your on-file credit history for a fee. It’s a good idea to check your credit history once a year to make sure there are no mistakes that could negatively affect your score, and to guard against identity theft.
What is a Good Credit Score
As we mentioned above, a credit score is a number between 300 and 900. A score below 600 means you’ll have trouble accessing credit from any lender. A score below 680 means you won’t be able to obtain credit from a traditional lender like a bank, but you’ll be able to use secured credit cards and non-traditional lenders. A score between 680 and 750 is average and will give you access to traditional lenders, and anything above 750 is considered excellent and will give you access to the lowest interest rates from traditional lenders like banks and major credit card companies. Here is a table that breaks it down:
What It Means to You
Trouble accessing any credit
Non-traditional lenders, higher interest rates
Traditional lenders, normal interest rates
Traditional lenders, best interest rates
How to Improve Your Credit Score
If you’ve pulled your credit score using the methods outlined above and you realize that it’s low, never fear. There are several ways to improve your credit score.
First, you should check your credit history to make sure it is accurate. If there are mistakes, take steps to inform both credit reporting agencies.
Next, start proving to lenders that you are a responsible borrower. Use your existing credit cards responsibly and make payments every month. If you don’t qualify for a traditional credit card, you can use a secured credit card. You can qualify for a secured credit card if you have a very low credit score, but you will need to pay a deposit equal to the credit card's limit.
Minimize the number of times lenders pull your credit score. Don't apply for many different credit cards at once.
Finally, use all types of credit responsibly. Make all of your payments on time, don’t carry more than 35% of your credit limit as a balance on any credit cards and never, ever go over your credit limit.
These aren't overnight fixes, and it will take time to rebuild a blemished credit score. But a good credit score is an important piece of your financial identity. A good credit score gives you access to the best lenders and interest rates and is a measure of your overall financial trustworthiness. It's worth taking care of.
We know the fine print can be painful, but we believe it's important you have all the facts!
easyfinancial offers a variety of financial services including personal loans, and mortgages. easyfinancial is a division of goeasy Ltd., the leading full service provider of goods and alternative financial services that improve the lives of everyday Canadians. goeasy Ltd. is listed on the TSE under the symbol 'GSY'.
* easyfinancial offers secured personal loans in all provinces, excluding British Columbia, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon.
CREDIT SCORE IMPACT
While having a loan and honouring its obligations can help build credit, too many loans may be seen by potential creditors as an increased risk, and failure to meet repayment obligations will result in a negative report to the credit bureaus, which would reduce your credit score. Please borrow responsibly.
Loans from easyfinancial do not automatically renew. Customers have the option to request an increase to their loan after paying down a percentage of their current loan amount and maintaining good payment history. Such a request would be subject to the company's standard underwriting rules.
easyfinancial offers personal loans from $500 to $25,000 with terms from 9 to 120 months. The APR is between 19.99%-46.96%. Secured personal loans may be subject to provincial fees upon funding. NSF (non-sufficient funds) payments will be assessed a $50 fee in addition to fees charged by the customer's financial institution.
easyfinancial contacts customers in arrears as soon as possible through various means including, but not limited to telephone, email, postal mail and SMS. easyfinancial may work with third parties to assist in collections activities.
LOAN PROTECTION PLAN
†Loan Protection Plan is underwritten by American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida (ABIC) and American Bankers Life Assurance Company of Florida (ABLAC) under Group Master Policy Numbers EF012017, EFL012017, EF082017 and EFL082017.
** Receive approval in as little as 48 hours with complete documentation.
‡ Conditions apply. Ask branch for details. Optional service.
ABIC and ABLAC carry on business in Canada under the trade name of Assurant®.
®Assurant is a registered trademark of Assurant, Inc.
The complete terms, eligibility, benefits, limitations and exclusions are contained in the Certificate of Insurance.
Purposes for Which goeasy Handles Personal Information
goeasy collects and uses personal information for purposes limited to those which are related to its businesses, which include providing financial services and leasing household furnishings, appliances, and home electronic products to its customers under lease agreements. We collect personal information primarily from you, for instance through applications and supporting documentation you provide. We may also collect personal information about you through your ongoing interactions with us, from references, employers and other financial institutions you have identified in your application as well as credit bureaus and other third party sources. For example, we may collect personal information from credit bureaus for the purpose of locating you to collect outstanding debts. In connection with loan agreements, we may also collect personal information from credit bureaus in order to verify your current and ongoing creditworthiness and other information you may provide to us.
We may collect and use personal information for purposes such as, but not limited to, the following:
Personal Information goeasy Collects
goeasy limits the amount and type of personal information collected to that which is necessary for our identified purposes, and we collect personal information by fair and lawful means.
Personal information that we collect includes:
Transfers and Disclosures of Personal Information
goeasy may disclose personal information in a number of circumstances, including:
In addition to the above, personal information may be shared between our affiliates or subsidiaries (including those located in the United States) for internal audit, management, billing or administrative purposes including defending and bringing legal actions.
In the course of fulfilling the purposes described above, goeasy may transfer your personal information to service providers, including affiliates or other third party organizations or individuals retained by goeasy to perform functions on its behalf, such as marketing, data processing, customer service, office, security, collections, insurance, financial and taxation services. When personal information is transferred to service providers, we use contractual or other means to ensure that a comparable level of protection is provided. Some of our service providers may be located outside Canada, including in the United States, and will be subject to applicable legal requirements in the country in which they are located, including lawful requirements to disclose personal information to government authorities in certain circumstances.
goeasy may also use and disclose personal information in connection with the proposed or actual financing, securitization, insuring, sale, assignment or other disposal of all or part of our business or assets (including your loan or lease and any agreement to which it relates), for the purposes of evaluating and/or performing the proposed transaction. Assignees or successors of our business or assets may use and disclose your personal information for similar purposes as those described in this Policy.
goeasy may disclose your personal information as necessary to meet legal, regulatory, insurance, audit, and security requirements, and as otherwise with your consent or as permitted or required by law.
goeasy uses reasonable safeguards and other security standards to protect all personal information in its custody and control against loss or theft, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification, regardless of the format in which the information is held. Safeguards will vary depending on the sensitivity, format, location, and storage of the personal information. Only authorized employees, agents, partners and third parties who require access to personal information to fulfill their job requirements will have access to personal information.
Access and Accuracy
goeasy may establish and maintain a file containing an individual's personal information for the purposes described above, which will be accessible at our offices. Individuals have the right to request access to or correction of their personal information that is held by goeasy. Requests must be made in writing, addressed to goeasy's Privacy Officer as per the contact information set out at the end of this Policy. We will respond to written requests within a reasonable time. Copies of records containing personal information may be subject to a fee. If this is the case, goeasy will inform the individual of the amount of the fee in advance. We will use our best efforts to ensure that personal information is as accurate, complete and up-to-date as necessary for the identified purposes. If an individual successfully demonstrates the inaccuracy or incompleteness of personal information, we will amend the information as required. If we refuse access to personal information or disagree with an assertion that information held by us is incorrect, we will provide a written explanation for such refusal and a description of our complaints procedure should an individual decide to challenge such written explanation. An individual's right to access or correct personal information is subject to applicable legal restrictions. To prevent fraudulent access to the personal information stored by goeasy, we may take reasonable steps to verify an individual's identity before granting access or making corrections.
goeasy's Websites and E-Mail Communication
goeasy does not guarantee the confidentiality of any communications made by you via e-mail or otherwise through our websites. If you wish to provide information of a confidential or sensitive nature to easyhome, please contact us directly by telephone at 1-866-823-3279 or easyfinancial at 1-888-502-3279 to arrange for delivery/transmission of such information by secure means.
In compliance with Google's advertising policies, we use Google Adwords Search Engine Marketing (Pay Per Click) and Display Advertising (Remarketing and Google Display Network). We use Google AdWords Remarketing in compliance with the Google AdWords Interest-Based Advertising Policy, which means that you may see our advertisements on Google and other third party websites on the internet after visiting our website.
We use Google Analytics for Display Advertising, including Remarketing, Google Analytics Demographics and Interest Reporting, Google Display Network Impression Reporting and the DoubleClick Campaign Manager integration. You have the option to opt out of Google Analytics for Display Advertising and customize Google Display Network ads. For all the currently available opt-outs, please visit https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout
We use the data collected through Google Analytics Demographics and Interest Reporting to better understand our website visitors in terms of demographics and interests, to improve our website content in order to cater to our audience, and to customize advertisements based on our audience's interests and demographics.
In certain circumstances, as permitted or required by law, we may collect, use or disclose personal information without the knowledge or consent of the individual. These circumstances include but are not limited to: personal information that is publicly available as defined by regulation; where collection is clearly in the interests of the individual and consent cannot be obtained in a timely way; where disclosure is made for the purposes of collecting a debt owed to us; or to comply with a subpoena, warrant or court order.
Inquiries or Further Information
Privacy Officer, goeasy Ltd.,
33 City Centre Drive, Suite 510
Mississauga, Ontario, L5B 2N5, Canada
If you are not satisfied with our response to a privacy-related matter, you may contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada at 1-800-282-1376 or at http://www.privcom.gc.ca. or in Quebec, Alberta or British Columbia, your provincial privacy regulator, as applicable.