Account number: reference number assigned to a credit account by a creditor or a collection agency.

Balance: the last reported amount due on the credit account.

Closed account: an account that is closed by you or a creditor. Remains on your credit report for seven years from the date of last activity.

Collection agency: A company assigned by a creditor to collect overdue amounts. Collection agencies report account information to credit bureaus.

Consumer: an individual who purchases products and services.

Consumer Statement: You can add a consumer statement to your credit report to provide additional information to lenders.

Credit bureau: also known as a credit reporting agency. An organization that gathers and compiles information from various sources to create someone’s credit file.

Credit file: a record of your credit history, identifying information and other data generated by a credit bureau or a credit reporting agency. Your credit file is used to populate your credit report.

Credit history: a record of how you pay credit accounts over a period of time.

Credit limit: your available credit limit for the account.

Credit report: a summary of how you manage credit, provided by credit bureaus/credit reporting agencies. Companies use a credit report to make decisions about someone’s creditworthiness.

Credit reporting agency: also known as a credit bureau. An organization that gathers and compiles information from various sources to create someone’s credit file.

Credit score: a three-digit number calculated from the information in your credit report. A credit score allows companies to quickly gauge creditworthiness and determine the risk of lending money to you or accepting your application.

Creditor: a person or business that you borrow money from or owe money to.

Date reported: date the account was last updated.

Dispute: to disagree with the accuracy of the information in your credit report and request its removal or change.

Fraud alert: available to confirmed victims of fraud or identity theft. Allows a statement to be added to your credit report to encourage — but not legally require — lenders to call you before approving credit. Fraud alerts stay on your report for six years.

Hard inquiry: when a lender requests a copy of your credit report to evaluate your credit application. Too many hard inquiries in a short space of time can lower your credit rating.

High credit: the highest balance since the account was opened or the credit limit for the account.

Inquiry: a request for a copy of your credit report. These requests are commonly carried out by lenders, landlords, potential employers, mortgage brokers, or another company from whom you’ve applied for credit.

Judgement: A court decision regarding a debt. Judgments are recorded in the public records section of your credit report.

Lender: a company that lends money or offers credit.

Lien: A legal claim on property as security for or payment of a debt.

Minimum payment: the lowest payment amount you can make on a revolving credit account to ensure your account is considered paid as agreed.

Monthly payment: average monthly payment reported to the credit bureau.

Months reviewed: the number of months that the account has been reported for.

Mortgage: a loan to purchase a home secured by the home itself. If you don’t make payments, the lender can sell the home to recover the amount owed on the mortgage.

Original creditor: the initial creditor before the account was passed to a collection agency.

Past due: any amount overdue on your account.

Payment history: monthly payment history for the credit account.

Payment amount: the last payment amount recorded on the account.

Public records: Information obtained from court records about items like bankruptcy, court judgments and liens.

Status: whether the account is in good standing or if there are issues with payments.

Type of account: there are different types of credit accounts: Installment, Revolving, Open or Mortgage.

Revolving account: an account that can be reused as long as the account is open and payments are made on time. Examples include credit cards, home equity lines of credit (HELOC) and some other lines of credit.

Social Insurance Number (SIN): A unique nine-digit number assigned to every Canadian resident. Used in your credit report to identify you.

Soft inquiry: when your credit report is accessed without affecting your credit score.

Tax lien: a legal claim to guarantee the payment of tax debt.

Term: The amount of time you have to repay a loan.

Source: Equifax Canada: Credit Reports

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