By Lola Augustine Brown
CIBC customers who use the bank’s mobile banking app will be able later this year to check their credit score for free—without the check affecting their score. The joint initiative has CIBC working with Equifax Canada and Borrowell, a Toronto online lending company.
If you’ve accessed your credit score before, you’ll know that doing so usually requires paying a fee to Equifax and having the results sent to you by mail (for a higher fee, you can also subscribe online to get immediate access). With CIBC’s new app, you’ll be able to check your credit score any time; Equifax will update credit scores quarterly. Those who aren’t CIBC customers can get free online credit checks through Borrowell.
It’s a good idea to check your credit score every so often for a number of reasons. For one, if your credit score seems ridiculously low, this can be a sign that you’ve been a victim of identity fraud and that someone is running up debt in your name. Once you know, you can begin taking steps to remedy the probem.
Knowing that you have a good credit score means that you know whether you’ll be able to get credit if you need it; if your credit is iffy, you’ll know in advance and be able to work on improving it. In addition, a higher score can mean getting a lower interest rate on a loan.
In a recent CIBC survey, 69 per cent of Canadian admitted to not knowing their credit score, and 45 per cent said that they had no idea how to find it. Half (49 per cent) said that they were afraid that checking their score would negatively affect their credit, but CIBC promises that using the new service won’t hurt your score.
CIBC is the first Canadian bank to offer a free credit check.