Applying for a New Card: Which Credit Bureau Gets Used?

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Good credit is one of the better things to have around. If you don’t already know your credit score, there are many free options available. Each time you apply for a new credit product, a lender will check your credit history from a credit bureau with a history of your financial information. There are two credit bureaus in Canada, Equifax and TransUnion. A creditor will usually pull one report during your credit check, which varies depending based on the bank or financial institution.

Each credit inquiry decreases your score by several points, so you should want to know which inquiries are with TransUnion and Equifax. That lets you avoid having all credit pulls with one bureau. As well, you want to have few credit inquiries on your report when applying for a large secured loan like a mortgage, so knowing the credit inquiries on your account are important.

Credit Score Basics

Your credit score will range between 300 and 900, with a good score starting at the high 700s. Five factors determine your credit score.

Credit Bureau Score Factors

Credit Bureau Score Factors

With both your credit reports, all personal and account information should be the same. The only aspect that differs are the credit inquiries on each report. There are two types of credit inquiries, soft and hard. Soft inquiries, also know as soft pulls, are when you request information on your credit file or when a creditor wants to check your financial information for marketing purposes. These do not affect your score. You will incur a hard inquiry when applying for a new credit product, where a creditor checks your credit to make a lending decision. The more hard pulls you have, the lower this aspect of your score will be.

Which Credit Bureau is Used?

I’ve included a table indicating which credit bureau in Canada each issuer uses. These are general guidelines and are not strict rules. The credit bureau that each bank checks may vary depending on the individual consumer. However, the majority of applicants have the same results as this table. I’ve added a  list of which Canadian credit bureaus are pulled by major credit card and other financial issuers. If you have any additional data points you’d like to contribute, please send me an email. Most of this information is from various online resources including RFD, and pretty much match my own credit history with the bureaus. The split pretty much is right down the line – Equifax and TransUnion are pulled equally.

Major Credit Card Issuers

Credit Bureau PulledEquifaxTransUnion
American Express
BMO (Bank of Montreal)
CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)
Capital One
MBNA (Owned by TD)
NBC (National Bank of Canada)
RBC (Royal Bank of Canada)
Scotiabank
TD Canada Trust

Other Financial Issuers

Credit Bureau PulledEquifaxTransUnion
Chase Canada (Not accepting new applicants)
Desjardins
HomeTrust (Visa)
HSBC
Rogers Bank
PC Financial (Merging with CIBC)
Tangerine (Owned by Scotiabank)
TD Bank (USA)

*No recent Data Points on HSBC – please contact me if you have any!

Summary: Credit Cards Issuers Using Equifax

Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Capital One, NBC, TD Canada Trust, Chase Canada, HomeTrust, PC Financial.

Summary: Credit Card Issuers Using TransUnion

American Express, Bank of Montreal (BMO), Capital One, MBNA, RBC, Scotiabank, Desjardins, Rogers Bank, Tangerine, TD Bank USA.


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