Research / News

Knowing The Score

Author: CAC Manitoba. 

Consumer Understanding of Credit Reporting & Credit Scores

During the last two decades, consumers in Canada amassed an increasing amount of debt as compared to income. With the recent economic downturn, it has become more important to overall consumer well-being for consumers to understand, nurture, and protect their credit score and credit history.

In this decade, the use of credit files has become increasingly diverse. Once used almost solely to determine consumers' financial situations, consumers are now asked to consent to a credit check by potential employers, landlords, and insurance companies. The impact of our credit scores and credit histories has more far-reaching consequences for our future choices than ever before, and can affect where we work, where we live, and our ability to access almost anything from a cell phone plan to an insurance policy.

As the uses of credit files increase, so does the importance of consumers' level of knowledge and understanding regarding the collection of their credit information, their options regarding consent and accessing their credit information, the importance of building, repairing and maintaining their credit history to their future well-being, and their opportunities for redress when mistakes are made.

The Manitoba branch of the Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC
Manitoba) undertook research into consumers' level of knowledge and understanding
regarding all aspects of credit scores, including:

  • a review of related literature and research,
  • a nationally representative survey of 800 Canadians across the country,
  • interviews with key stakeholders (credit counselors and educators, organizations representing vulnerable consumers, industry), and
  • focus groups in three Canadian cities to explore questions arising from the survey, and those that could not be addressed in the survey.

Our objective was to raise awareness of consumers' level of knowledge regarding this important aspect of credit management, and to develop recommendations to improve consumer awareness.

Consumers’ Association of Canada (Manitoba) Inc. received funding from Industry Canada’s Contributions Program for Non-Profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations. The views expressed in this report are not
necessarily those of Industry Canada or of the Government of Canada

Download the report here

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