What can I do to improve my credit rating?

Question: 
What can I do to improve my credit rating?
Answer: 

Your credit rating is based upon information about how much debt you have, whether you pay your bills on time, and whether you appear to have more credit than you appear to be able to manage. Some ways to improve your credit score and to keep it healthy include:

  • Pay your bills on time.
  • Keep account balances (such as credit card balances) below 75% of the available credit line. For example, if your credit card limit is $1,000, keep your balance below $750.
  • Don't apply for new credit (another credit card, or a furniture loan, for example) unless you really need it.
  • Review your credit report periodically to make sure it is accurate. Contact TransUnion and Equifax for a free copy of your credit report.
  • If you are having trouble paying your bills, try to work out a payment plan with your creditors, or get help from a nonprofit credit counselling centre that is a member of the Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services.

More information about your credit rating can be found on the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services website at http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/en/Pages/Personal_Finance_Credit_Rating.aspx, and from our webinar, Consumer Reporting and Credit Reporting, beginning at the 3:18 mark.

This Common Question was prepared by Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc. in partnership with Your Legal Rights, a project of CLEO.

Resource notes: 

Please note that we at CLEO cannot give legal advice or help you with a specific legal problem. Please visit our Find Services section to help find key legal and community services in your area, including your local community legal clinic. This section will lead you to a wide range of services that you can sort by region, legal topic, or type of organization.

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