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Credit rating: Are my past errors on my file for life?

Credit rating: Are my past errors on my file for life?

Article updated on 30/09/2020
Do you collect credit cards? Are you being denied loans? Do you get calls from creditors about late payments? If your finances are causing you headaches, they’re also hurting your credit rating. Luckily, you can take control of the situation again.


  • A credit rating allows lenders to determine if you are in the habit of paying your debts on time.
  • Your credit rating changes according to your financial habits. By improving your payment behaviour, you improve your rating.
  • Yes, a bankruptcy, consumer proposal, voluntary deposit or late payment will appear on your credit file. But the note will eventually disappear. In the meantime, you can take action to improve your rating.

What’s the purpose of a credit rating?

A credit rating is a bit like a report card that indicates your reputation as a payer. It gives a picture of how you have paid off your debts (credit cards, loans, etc.) in the past.

There are five criteria for establishing your credit rating. The result is a number ranging from 300 (the lowest rating) to 900 (the highest).

Financial institutions, businesses and merchants are interested in your credit rating when it comes to granting (or not) a loan.

The better your rating, the more it indicates that you have a good payment history. Lenders will therefore be inclined to trust you.

Your credit rating can also have an impact on the type of loan, interest rates and other payment terms they will offer you. In other words, if you have a good credit rating, you have a better chance of getting good loan terms.

A bad credit rating can be brought back up

Your credit rating is not set in stone. Of course, bad payment habits can leave their mark for a while (see box below). But these negative effects are temporary.

Above all, a credit rating can be raised, provided you put in the necessary effort. Here are some good strategies to follow:

  • Make a budget and stick to it.
  • If you borrow, start with small amounts. Make your loan payments in full and before the deadline.
  • Pay your bills on time.
  • Vary your loans.
  • Don’t use up all your credit: try never to exceed 50% of your limit on your credit card or line of credit.

Getting your credit rating back on track takes less time than you think

Depending on your situation, it is possible to improve your credit rating in a few months or years.

Of course, this means taking charge of your debt problems, adopting good financial habits and, above all, keeping them!

This is how you will gradually rebuild your reputation as a good payer.

When will my bankruptcy disappear from my credit report?

A payment default, a voluntary deposit, a consumer proposal or a bankruptcy inevitably leaves its mark on your credit file. Fortunately, these notes eventually disappear after a few years. And in the meantime, that doesn’t stop you from taking action to improve your credit.

Payment default or delay

A late payment can remain on your credit report for up to six years.

Consumer proposal

A consumer proposal notation disappears three years after you have made the last payment provided for in your agreement with creditors.

Voluntary deposit

There will be no record of your voluntary deposit in your file three years after your last payment to the Court.

Declaration of bankruptcy

In general, your bankruptcy is erased from your file six years after your discharge. It takes longer if it is a second bankruptcy.

Where do I start?

The first step to improving your credit rating is to address your debt problems. Don’t know where to start? Feel like you could use a hand? Our financial recovery advisors and licensed insolvency trustees are here to help you.

Making a financial health check in five easy steps and finding solutions that are right for you is their specialty.

If you drag out your over-indebtedness for too long, your situation could get worse and your credit rating could be downgraded. It’s better to act early to regain your financial health—and a good credit rating—sooner!

Meet with one of our counsellors for free

Don’t ignore a debt problem that’s ruining your life. Let’s work together to help you regain control of your finances.