Building your credit score can help your success in Canada. As a newcomer, your credit score from your country of origin does not transfer over. As a result, you will need to build your a credit score in Canada. Continue reading to learn more about Canadian credit scores for newcomers.
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What is a Canadian credit score?
Your credit score is a three-digit number that represents how well you are at managing debt and finances. Individuals and organizations who may request your score can include banks, credit card companies, employers, lenders, phone companies, and more. Credit scores can also influence smaller purchases because it shows how likely someone is to make monthly payments. For example, a landlord may want to check a potential renter's credit before finalizing a deal.
A lack of Canadian credit history may prevent newcomers from qualifying for a mortgage or buying a new car. This is because lenders look at your credit score to determine if you will be able to meet the required payments. Newcomers will need to build up their credit score in order to qualify for larger purchases.
What is a good score?
Your credit score will often fall between 300 and 900. The higher the number, the better the score. Having a higher score can result in more favourable outcomes. For example, lower payments or less interest on repayment plans.
Here is a general guide:
- 300-579: Poor
- 580-669: Fair
- 670-739: Good
- 740-799: Very good
- 800-850: Excellent
How is credit score determined?
Your credit history plays an important role in determining your credit score. Credit history is your history of how you manage credit. You will automatically begin building your credit history once you start using credit in Canada. Additionally, credit history also considers how you manage credit and other public declarations such as bankruptcy.
The length of your credit history also determines your credit score. Credit history from outside of Canada is not considered. This will mean that newcomers begin with a low score because there isn’t enough data to represent a strong score.
Your credit report and credit score are generated by a credit bureau. There are two credit bureaus in Canada, they are Equifax and TransUnion. You can receive personal reports through both organizations.
Building Credit Score as a Newcomer
New Canadians may not qualify for large loans like mortgages immediately. This is because newcomers have not established credit history in the country. However, there are many ways for newcomers to start building credit.
The quickest way to start building credit is by getting a credit card. Use the credit card and make your monthly payments on time to build good credit. Additionally. you want to pay off your credit card bills on time to avoid paying any potential interest on the outstanding balance.
Consider the credit limit of your credit card. Avoid using the entire limit of your credit card. Using too much credit (borrowing too much money) can lead to negative results. Regardless of paying your balance in full and on-time, using up your credit limit can indicate risk for lenders. Financial Consumer Agency of Canada recommends using less than 35% of your available credit.
As you continue to build your credit score, consider branching out into other forms of credit when you qualify. This can mean starting off with a recurring phone contract to show that you are capable of making monthly payments. As you progress, you will qualify for other types of loans that require higher credit scores such as automobile loans, mortgages, and other lines of credit.
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Are you a skilled newcomer in Canada?
Finances can be a tricky situation for newcomers. Internationally trained individuals may find that they need to pursue further training, pay specific fees, or return to school before they can continue their desired career. Receiving a loan to pay for this training is not easy for many newcomers without a long Canadian credit history. Eligible newcomers in Alberta and Saskatchewan can ask about how Career Loans can assist with a micro loan of up to $15,000. In addition., newcomers in these provinces can register with our program to receive free career and financial counselling.
Learn more about the Career Loans program and register today by clicking here!
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