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)
TD Canada Trust

Other Financial Issuers

Credit Bureau PulledEquifaxTransUnion
Chase Canada (Not accepting new applicants)
HomeTrust (Visa)
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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  1. […] To dispel the myth, your credit does not drop a lot if you have lots of credit cards open. I have over 20 credit cards open, and I’m doing just fine. All of this is pretty much exactly the same in the US, except they have Experian, an additional credit bureau. See whether a financial issuer pulls Equifax or TransUnion for a new account. […]

  2. […] GIC’s are often mentioned as a way to store your money. I do not use these products. In nearly all cases, I get higher returns jumping between different bank account products. Further, my money stays completely liquid at all circumstances. For example, some GIC’s are offering ~2% with a one year term. That’s a long time for your funds to be locked in. Opening a new bank account can be very little work. Usually there is no hard inquiry. A hard inquiry affects your credit report negatively. Opening a new credit card will nearly always incur a hard pull. For more information, there are site articles about how your credit score is calculated, and what credit bureaus are pulled for a new credit card application. […]


  1. My Canadian credit file is only 8 months old, current TransUnion credit score is 737 and Equifax is 695. I have 3 credit cards (Scotiabank SCENE Visa – credit limit $500, Scotiabank American Express Card – credit limit $5000 and CIBC Aventura Gold Visa – credit limit $1500) and recently got declined for a MBNA Best Western Mastercard Credit card, reason being credit history very young. I also have applied for the American Express Essential Credit card and will know the decision in couple days. My question is, with my decent credit score and young credit file, what other cards may I be eligible for since I am looking to close down the CIBC Aventura Gold Visa and Scotiabank SCENE Visa credit cards. Thank you!

    • You are in a tricky situation, you have too many credit cards for a new credit history. Now, when they see that you have applied for another two it seems very suspicious. You also have too many inquiries now in a short period of time.
      You need to wait a bit now to apply for another credit card. I would go for a year without applying for another one. Don’t forget that it is not only about your credit score, but also about what is behind it.

    • Are you sure on this ? I tried for a Pc and got declined yet got a platinum Amex. I have one derogatory thing on Equifax and none on trans union. Got declined when Pc pulled Equifax yet my score is well over 700 and got approved for Amex when pulled at trans union score most like the same as Equifax as it’s well over 700. I have credit karma to check trans union but can’t use any of the free ones for Equifax for some reason

  2. Hello! I have a question 🙂 I was just refused a credit cart with Tangerine bank, didn’t know they check with TransUnion and I have to correct some errors on that file. I was wondering if then the Tangerine Bank will only report to TransUnion or Equifax as well? I want to try to apply for a credit card that is with Equifax because I know I have a good credit with them, no errors on that report. Thanks 🙂

  3. Greetings,

    I have one credit card with a limit of $6800 and I never go above 9% utilization. My score with Equifax is 773 with a credit history of 9 years. I am wondering if I should apply for another credit card to improve my overall score and with whom I (should) apply?

    Thank you.

    • It is unlikely that this will improve your score – only reduce it. However, you can apply for a small installment loan if you don’t have one already as mix of credit will help your score.

  4. Thank you! This article is super useful and accurate.

    Profile update (20181210): TransUnion (736) / Equifax (677) approved for AMEX Essential for $7,500.

  5. PC uses both EQ & TU. 2 hits on TU (same day) and 1 on EQ. (Applied Dec 22 2018).

    Please add Collabria to your list. They go by Equifax & so do credit unions in general for loan applications. Collabria is big in issuing credit cards.

  6. Duo Bank of Canada (Walmart MC) checked me on TransUnion. 2 items in collection, score of 680, and I was approved with a $1,500 limit.

  7. RBC (TU & EQ) , PC (TU & EQ) , CIBC (TU & EQ) , MBNA (TU) , TANGERINE (TU) , CANADIAN TIRE (TU) , NATIONAL BANK of CANADA (EQ). I applied for about 8-12 credit cards all at once in 2018 when I had a “thin credit file” , which meant no debt, nothing in collections, nothing negative but also nothing positive either. No credit of any kind. I was surprisingly offered an RBC credit card when I opened a bank account with them and I accepted then my score quickly went to around 680 and I applied for 8-12 other credit cards from there on because I wanted to start building credit and I ended up getting another 2 cards but after all the hard inquiries in such a short period of time my credit score went down to 469 but has been going up every month since then and im at 695 and 662. Anyway I havent applied for any credit in over a year and ive learned to not only keep my balance low but to keep my credit utilization low before my bill even comes out. I made the mistake of maxing out my cards and then paying off the entire balance in full but my score kept going down which I didn understand why? I thought how I was doing it was the right way to build my score but I was wrong. Having a high balance or high “credit utilization” when my bill date comes isnt good even if you pay off the balance in full everytime. So anyway thats my experience with what lenders used what credit bureau and how to build and keep a strong credit score. Cheers. 🙂

  8. My credit scribe was bad and just got approved for a 300 capital 1 secured card after putting down 75 dollars.
    Also managed to get a bell mobility account in my name after a deposit of 400 which will be returned back to me after 6 months on time and full payment.
    My TransUnion score was around 561 when I got both my Capital 1 secured card in January and my Bell Mobility beginning of February. I have paid both bills in full and on time prior to balance been reported to the bureau. I have seen my score rise from 562 to 627 for transunion between Jan and Beginning of March.
    My Equifax went from 461 to 514 between Jan and Beginning of March.
    What I’m finding is even with two items in collection and an old judgement on file that was paid, my score is gradually increasing due to on time payments with my secured card and payment in full also. Just wanted to share that scores can be increased with discipline and on time payments.

  9. Hsbc pulled from Equifax July 2020 for a MasterCard
    (Appointment at branch, after online application)

  10. Canadian Tire pulled my Equifax when I applied (April 2021). For my Home Depot credit card from Citi Bank my TransUnion report was pulled. (May 2021)

  11. after reading all these comments i just had to put in my 2 cents. I had a walmart credit card that was messed up by my daughter from 2016 it is now in default and it is reported every month my Canadian tire mastercard was deferred for 1 year and that helped my credit for this year 2021 i have gotten 3 increases from canadian tire without asking from 2000 lmt to 5000. My eq score was 547 and tu was 655 i applied for american and was approved for 1500 and cap1 unsecured 300 no deposit but then got declined for Scotian i was looking for a balance transfer card with low interest. i tried the MBNA needless to say denied my score took a great hit -32 on tu and -3 on eq i guess to many inquiries in just 1 week also a loan company did a hit om my credit report saying it was a soft pull but they did a hard pull got approved for the loan but i did not accept it so the inquiry is on my report. I will sit it out and see what happened.
    The last thing is that after more than 14 years i received a letter from a collection agency saying i owe 8000+ from 15 years ago to a company i never dealt with anyway the long and shot of this is that the credit card issuers give false information sometimes they say soft pull but they give you a hard pull they say a certain score will qualify you you apply and they deny you and give you a reason that is not in the requirement that’s my story am just waiting for my next increase from Canadian tire

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