A survey commissioned by Mogo shows that most Canadians are unaware of the role credit scores play in their lives. The fintech lender has a list of recommendations for those who want to improve them.
Mogo, a company that offers online loans, hired MARU/VCR&C to conduct poll to determine if Canadians understand the effect credit scores have on their lives. Although 72% of respondents knew that lenders and financial institutions consider credit information during the loan application process, 81% were not aware of the fact that employers may consult their files, and about two thirds did not know that insurance agencies and cell phone companies may also consider credit scores.
"Knowing your credit score is a key indicator of your financial health and the first step for multiple life decisions: renting your first apartment, starting your own business, getting a mortgage," says Chantel Chapman, a financial fitness coach for Mogo. "This is especially important for millennials who are currently in that age range where they'll be facing key milestones that involve a credit score."
Don't miss any payments
For those who want to improve their rating, the company offers the following advice:
- Don't miss any payments, ever. Missing $4 on a payment is the same as missing $400 in the eyes of the credit score algorithm, says Mogo.
- Stay within the limit. Set an imaginary limit of 70% of your approved limit on your credit cards and lines of credit and do not go over it — even if you pay your balance off every month. Mogo argues that this will keep your credit score healthy. If you tend to carry a balance on your credit card, try to keep it under 35% of your total credit card limit.
- Be aware of who does hard credit checks. It's in your best interest to be 100% aware of who does hard credit checks to avoid major drops in your score. Multiple hard credit checks in a short time could impact your score because inquiries account for 10% of your overall score. For example, most lenders will do a hard credit check during the loan approval process, and even some new cell phone plans require a hard check, warns Mogo. If you're unsure you should always ask, and request a soft check whenever possible.