Equifax and TransUnion are the two major credit bureaus in Canada. But which is better for you?
Both bureaus receive consumer reports from creditors and use the data to aggregate credit scores, determining your ability to apply for loans, credit cards, apartments, and more.
If you’ve been looking for the ultimate Equifax vs. TransUnion Canada comparison, you’re in the right place. In this article, I’ll compare both of Canada’s credit bureaus based on the following criteria:
- Credit Rating
- Credit Reporting
- Credit Monitoring Service
- ID Theft Protection
- Tenant Credit Reporting
- Accuracy of Reports
While both scores are equally important, the two bureaus may generate different scores and also offer their prospective credit monitoring services. I’ll discuss this and more below.
Equifax was founded in 1899 in the city of Atlanta in the US as the Retail Credit Company. It was originally used to gauge prospective customers’ ability to apply for a line of credit for retail purchases.
As the world economy began embracing e-banking and went digital, the need for a more accurate credit scoring model became apparent. In 1989, the first FICO credit scoring model was created, and Equifax was the first company to adopt it.
In the same year, Equifax established its service in Canada. Since then, it’s been using the latest FICO scoring models to generate Canadian consumer credit reports. All Canadians are entitled to a free credit report from Equifax, which they can obtain from the bureau’s website.
Equifax also offers a credit monitoring service, so consumers can stay on top of their Equifax credit reports and get paired with personalized offers.
- Equifax is one of the only two established credit bureaus in Canada
- Equifax uses the FICO scoring model, which is widely regarded as the most accurate scoring model
- Equifax provides comprehensive, data-driven credit reports that are updated on a monthly basis
- Equifax offers a credit monitoring service
- Equifax credit monitoring is not free
- Equifax credit scores may be lower (or higher) than TransUnion due to different scoring models
- Equifax had a major data breach in 2017, which compromised thousands of Canadians
TransUnion is a US-based company that was founded in 1969. The credit reporting bureau established a presence in Canada in 1989, the same year as Equifax.
Unlike Equifax, which uses the FICO scoring model, TransUnion prefers the VantageScore credit scoring model. While both scoring models are similar, the FICO model is used more often by lenders, as its slightly more accurate.
TransUnion offers a free credit report to all Canadians and also offers a paid monthly credit monitoring service to those who want to stay on top of their TransUnion credit rating.
- TransUnion is one of the only two credit bureaus in Canada
- TransUnion provides a number of credit monitoring tools and simulators
- TransUnion recently launched a tenant screening extension
Now that you have a bit of background on Canada’s two credit bureaus let’s jump into our head-to-head comparison of the two industry giants.
Equifax vs. TransUnion: Credit Rating
Both Equifax and TransUnion have scores that range between 300 and 900 in Canada. The lower the number, the lower the individual’s credit rating. The higher the number, the more trustworthy the consumer appears to be.
Here’s what your credit rating says about your creditworthiness, according to Canada’s Financial Consumer Agency:
- 300-559: Poor credit
- 560-659: Fair credit
- 660-724: Good credit
- 725-759: Very good credit
- 760-900: Excellent credit
For credit ratings, Equifax and TransUnion are tied.
Both bureaus generate the most accurate credit ratings possible using the information in their consumer databases. Although scores may differ slightly between the two, the credit rating system used by each bureau is fair.
Whenever you make a successful payment on time, pay down a loan/credit card, pay off a loan in full, or apply for a new line of credit, your creditors notify Equifax and TransUnion. The credit bureaus plug this information into their algorithms and use it to generate your credit score.
Both companies keep accurate data on consumer history and use it to constantly update scores.
For credit reporting, Equifax and TransUnion are tied, as they both offer accurate credit reporting services and allow Canadians to request a free credit report multiple times per year.
If you’re actively improving your credit score or working towards a particular goal (i.e., trying to buy your first home), then you may want to subscribe to a credit monitoring service to stay on top of your reports.
These reports will give you unlimited free credit reports that you can view online and will notify you of any changes in your score or items that have been added to or removed from your report.
For credit monitoring, Equifax is the winner. Equifax’s credit monitoring service costs just $19.95 per month, while TransUnion’s credit monitoring service costs $24.95 per month.
Identity theft is, unfortunately, becoming more common. Subscribers to Equifax and TransUnion’s credit monitoring services will be able to take advantage of each bureau’s identity theft protection services.
Both of these services are pretty much the same and offer the following:
- Notifications when your phone number is found on the dark web
- Notifications when your email address is found on the dark web
- Notifications of new credit reports/inquiries
Equifax also offers ID theft insurance, which offers up to $1 million to credit-monitoring customers who’ve had their identity stolen and lost funds as a result.
Service-wise and price-wise for ID theft protection, Equifax is the clear winner. Also, Equifax offers this service for $5 cheaper per month.
Recently, TransUnion launched its ShareAble tenant credit reporting platform, giving renters and property managers accurate information about their tenant credit reports.
This can be very useful when you’re undergoing a tenant credit check, as you’ll be able to see the same information that the leasing agent can view.
Overall, it just makes the whole process more transparent.
Equifax does not offer tenant credit reporting, which makes TransUnion the clear winner here.
Often, you may have a different credit score from Equifax than you do from TransUnion. This is because Equifax and TransUnion use different scoring models.
Additionally, each bureau may have slightly different reports on consumers due to your creditors’ reporting habits.
For example, some creditors send monthly payment history to both Equifax and TransUnion, while other creditors may only send payment history reports to one bureau or the other.
Typically, any discrepancy between the two scores has more to do with your creditors and lenders than with the credit bureaus. As a result, both TransUnion and Equifax are tied regarding the accuracy of credit reports and scores.
To give you an idea of how the two credit bureaus stack up, here’s a quick overview of how I’ve ranked Equifax and TransUnion based on the factors above:
|Credit monitoring service||Equifax|
|ID theft protection||Equifax|
|Tenant credit reporting||TransUnion|
|Accuracy of reports||Tied|
Personally, I feel that Equifax’s credit monitoring and ID protection services are better, as they’re not only cheaper but more comprehensive.
However, TransUnion’s new ShareAble tenant credit reporting program is a really neat tool that makes the tenant screening process more open to both renters and leasers.
- Pay All Of Your Bills On Time
- Verify Your Credit Reports For Accuracy
- Dispute Incorrect Data On Your Credit Reports
- Reduce Your Credit Card Utilization
- Limit Hard Inquiries
- Vary Your Credit Lines
To finish up, here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions I get about Equifax vs. TransUnion Canada.
Equifax and TransUnion use different scoring models. Equifax primarily uses data from the FICO scoring model, while TransUnion primarily uses data from the VantageScore scoring model. Both scoring algorithms are accurate but account for different items on your report.
Additionally, some creditors may provide inaccurate or late reports to both credit bureaus, which could cause one score to be higher or lower than the other.
Yes, all Canadians are entitled to free credit reports from both Equifax and TransUnion. You can apply for your report online or call each credit bureau by phone to request your report. Upon requesting your free credit report, be sure to have your personal ID information ready, such as your SIN, full name, birthday, and registered address.
A good credit score is considered to be any score above 660.
The Verdict – Both Equifax & TransUnion Provide Accurate Credit Reporting
Equifax and TransUnion are the only two providers of consumer credit reports in the country, which means that you really can’t escape them. Almost all Canadian residents who’ve ever rented an apartment, applied for a loan, or have a credit card will have a score from both bureaus.
However, if you’re going to pay for a credit monitoring service from either, I’d suggest Equifax. Equifax is cheaper than TransUnion and provides a more comprehensive ID theft protection program.
Looking for a complete money and credit management program? Check out my list of the best free credit score reports in Canada.