Spousal Sponsorship-Canada/Credit History
Unless you have lived in Canada before, as a new immigrant to Canada, you will not have a Canadian credit history. This means that to many Canadian suppliers, you are an unknown quantity and are treated as such.
How your lack of Canadian credit history will affect you:
There are many companies that will carry out credit checks before deciding to extend credit / offer you a service. The list may surprise you. These include obvious (and not so obvious) facilities including:
• Bank accounts
Many ‘newcomer’ accounts available,
• Credit cards
May want large security deposits up-front and / or paltry credit limit
• Property rental
Landlords wary with no credit rating to check and may want larger deposits
• Cellphone contracts
May only be able to get pay-as-you-go for a few months / or they want up-front deposits
• Cable TV / internet provision • House utilities (gas, electric etc.),
Likely to want large security deposits
• Car insurance
May only allow you to insure initially for 3 – 6 months
Unless you have a large deposit, may pay a higher rate on a mortgage
What are credit rating agencies?
These are normally ‘behind the scenes’ companies that gather large amounts of information about you and have information passed to them by companies you have accounts with. They analyse this information to create a ‘credit history’ about you over time and give you a score based on this information. The higher the score, the better a ‘credit risk’ you are.
In the UK, there are two main credit rating agencies, Experian (the biggest) and Equifax. In the UK, you can sign up direct with these agencies and get your own credit scores and credit history reports. It is also possible to request a ‘correction’ if there is something on these reports that is not correct. Both Experian and Equifax offer ‘first month free’ deals whereby you sign-up with your credit card then can obtain your report immediately. If you forget to cancel within the first month (yes, they are hoping that you do forget!), then you are charged £15 per month (or so) ongoing until such time as you cancel.
In Canada, Equifax is the main credit rating agency, followed by TransUnion (Experian used to operate in Canada, but ceased a few years ago). It therefore makes sense to sign up in the UK with Equifax as at least the name of the credit agency will be familiar to Canadian ears! Once you have signed up, generate then download and print your credit score report AND your credit history report. Each will run to about 15 – 30 pages.
And to answer the obvious question, no, you cannot transfer your Equifax UK history to Equifax Canada!
What can I do to limit the effects of no Canadian credit history?
There are a couple of things you can do to help with your lack of Canadian credit history:
1. Obtain a printed and PDF credit score and history from Equifax UK just before you emigrate to show Canadian institutions
2. Pay off all Canadian bills promptly from outset, your credit history builds surprisingly quickly
There is no guarantee that a UK credit report will be recognised by Canadian institutions, but it will help!
Relevant British Expats threads:
Equifax UK: https://www.equifax.co.uk/
Experian UK: http://www.experian.co.uk/
Equifax Canada: http://www.consumer.equifax.ca/home/en_ca
TransUnion Canada: https://www.transunion.ca/