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. […]


  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.

  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.

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