Average Credit Score Ranges in Canada: What You Need to KnowJuly 14, 2023
Table of Contents Contents
It's a complex topic and before we dive into the details, we need to start from the beginning.
What are credit scores anyways?
Credit scores are calculated by Canada's major credit bureaus (e.g. Equifax and TransUnion) and show up as a three-digit number in your credit report. Lenders look at your credit score because they want to know how well you manage credit products like car loans, credit cards, and mortgages. Your credit score is basically your reputation for paying your bills on time. You get a high credit score if you use credit wisely and a low credit score if you're not responsible with it.
Credit scores are important because they impact almost every aspect of your life. Your credit rating gets checked when you apply for a loan and influences whether or not you get approved. Many landlords and employers also run credit checks before offering apartment keys and employment opportunities. With so much on the line, it's imperative to keep your credit score in good standing.
How are credit scores calculated?
Credit bureaus look at the following factors when calculating credit scores:
- Payment history: Your track record when it comes to paying your bills on time. If you have a history of late or missed payments, it will show up here.
- Credit utilization: How much available revolving credit (i.e. credit cards) you're using. It's expressed as a percentage and is calculated by dividing the amount you currently owe by your total credit limit.
- Credit history: How old your credit accounts are.
- Credit mix: The types of credit products you have and whether or not it's a diverse portfolio.
- Inquiries: The number of recent hard inquiries on your credit report.
- Public records: Includes collection issues, consumer proposals, and bankruptcies.
Keep in mind Equifax and TransUnion use different formulas and scoring models so your credit score will vary depending on the credit bureau.
What is the credit score range for TransUnion?
TransUnion credit scores range from 300 to 900. If you're curious about your TransUnion credit score, you can get a copy of your Consumer Disclosure for free once a month.
What is the credit score range for Equifax?
Just like TransUnion, Equifax credit scores range from 300 to 900. Wondering what your Equifax credit score is? Check it for free on Borrowell, a Canadian credit education platform that provides complimentary credit report monitoring, financial tips, and personalized loan recommendations.
Equifax also provides free credit reports upon request.
Generally, a credit score of 660 and over is considered good in Canada. Anything in the 300 to 559 range is usually seen as a poor credit score.
Take this with a grain of salt, though. Credit bureaus use different credit scoring models, which means there's a high chance your Equifax credit score is not the same as your TransUnion one. This can be problematic when applying for a loan. If your TransUnion credit score is 50 points higher than your Equifax one, but the lender pulls your Equifax credit report, this may impact the interest rate you're offered.
Lenders may also have differing opinions on what constitutes a good credit score and have their own threshold for approval.
Finally, it's important to remember that your credit score isn't the only deciding factor when it comes to getting approved. Your income, employment history, collateral value, liquid assets, and loan term play a significant role when financial institutions decide to work with you or not.
Is a 600 credit score good in Canada?
According to the Government of Canada, average credit scores range from 650 to 725. A score of 600 is below average and indicates a higher risk borrower. If your credit rating sits anywhere between 560 to 659, you're less likely to access loans from banks and other traditional financial institutions. Even if you get approved with a major bank, you probably won't qualify for attractive interest rates.
Is a 620 credit score good in Canada?
A 620 credit score is fair but still lower than the national average range. Just like a 600 credit score, you may have a harder time getting approved for standard credit products and regular rates.
Is a 750 credit score good in Canada?
A 750 credit score is not just good, it's very good. If your credit score falls within 725 to 759, it means you have a solid track record of responsible credit use. Lenders see you as a lower-risk borrower and feel more confident about your ability to repay debt. You may also qualify for some of the best interest rates available depending on the financial institution.
Is an 800 credit score good in Canada?
An 800 is an excellent credit score. If you have anything over 759, it shows lenders you know how to manage credit wisely and can be trusted to pay back loans on time. You'll get to enjoy the best interest rates on the market and will usually always get approved for the loan you want, whether that's a mortgage for your first home or financing for a new car. When applying for credit cards, you're also more likely to receive promotional rates, cashback bonuses, and exclusive rewards.
Is it possible to get a 900 credit score in Canada?
It's extremely rare to get a perfect credit score of 900 since so many formulas and factors go into the calculation. The good news is you don't need a perfect score of 900 to access credit products at the best terms and lowest interest rates. Anything over 759 will provide you with all the benefits of a perfect credit score.
Average credit scores by province and city
Average Credit Score by City
When you study the table above, you might notice a pattern. Interestingly, it seems that residents in provinces that offer more job prospects and higher salaries (e.g. Ontario) tend to have higher credit scores compared to provinces with fewer economic opportunities.
Average credit scores by age in Canada
The following table highlights the average credit score by age in Canada according to Equifax's 2018 consumer credit database.
Average Credit Score
Generally speaking, older adults tend to have higher credit scores compared to younger adults. Time seems to play a crucial role in credit health. Good credit builds over the years as you add different credit products to your portfolio and increase the length of your credit history. Keep in mind this isn't always the case since age doesn't automatically predict your credit outcome. Young adults under 25 years of age can still achieve excellent credit scores by exercising responsible and consistent credit habits.
Checking Your Credit Score
Keeping tabs on your credit score is always a good idea, and checking it is easier than ever. In order to check your credit score for Transunion, you can do so by signing up for Credit Karma, or do so directly on the Transunion website. If you’re looking for your Equifax score you can find that on Borrowell or the Equifax website.
The best part of checking your credit score this way is that it’s free. You just need to keep in mind that it’s a soft credit check so it may be a few points off from your real score. It’s enough to get a good idea of where you’re at though.
Your goal when improving your credit score should ideally be somewhere in the 700 range. While 660 and up is considered good, 700 and up is where you’re going to see a lot of financial opportunities open up.
How can you improve your credit score?
If you notice that your credit score is lower than average, don't panic. It's possible to improve your situation with a few small tweaks to your financial behaviour. Here are five things you can start doing now to enhance your creditworthiness.
Make payments on time
Payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score, so you need to make sure you pay all your bills by the due date. Paying late or missing payments can severely harm your credit score and are huge red flags for lenders.
Keep your credit utilization low
The second biggest factor influencing your credit score is credit utilization. Let's say you have a credit card with a $10,000 limit and spent $5,000. Your current credit utilization would be 50%. TransUnion recommends keeping your credit utilization under 35%, so be mindful of your spending and try not to max out your cards.
Be selective of the credit products you apply for
Don't apply for new loans and credit cards unless they will genuinely help your financial situation. Lenders conduct a hard inquiry on your credit report every time you submit an application. Multiple hard inquiries in a short time frame can cause your credit score to drop because the numerous applications can be seen as a sign of financial hardship, or that you are taking on more debt than you can handle. But don't worry if you're shopping around for car loans or mortgage rates. Most scoring models don't penalize you for trying to get the best interest rates.
Don't close current accounts
You may think cancelling some credit cards will make it easier to manage credit utilization, but this is a mistake. The truth is: you need active loan products to build credit. Credit history accounts for about 15% of your credit score because creditors and lenders like to see how you maintain credit over the years. Keeping credit accounts open so that you can focus on building a positive payment history.
Maintain a healthy mix of credit
Credit mix refers to all the credit accounts you have, including credit cards, personal loans, and open accounts like monthly mobile phone contracts. A healthy credit mix consists of diverse credit products because it shows you can manage various types of credit, from short-term revolving credit to long-term mortgages.
If you only have an instalment loan on file with the credit bureaus, look into diversifying your credit mix with a secured or unsecured credit card. On the flip side, if you only have credit cards, you could add a car loan or personal loan to your portfolio to improve your credit mix, but only if it makes financial sense. Don't overextend yourself just to improve your credit mix.