The way people procure finance has taken a new trajectory. Using credit cards has become a new normal, with the number of credit cards in use almost doubling to 79.6 million in 2019 from 40 million in 2000 just in Canada! But getting a credit card and getting a credit limit is different and the latter affects the former when you want to buy something. The credit limit is decided using a credit score. But, do you know the average credit score in Canada? Well if you don’t, this article is for you!
What is a Credit Score?
A credit score defines your credibility in terms of paying the credit you own to the credit provider. In Canada, Equifax and TransUnion are the two credit score provider agencies. They define credit score based on a variety of elements like the debt you own, your credit payment history, the type of credits you own, overall credit history, etc.
A credit score is utilized by various parties like your banks, creditors, lenders, credit card institutes, etc. They can gauge your payment terms and history before giving you financial support like a loan or even a credit card.
Different Types of Credit Scores
Before talking about the average credit score in Canada, let us understand the different types of credit scores.
741-900 (Excellent): The highest score available leading to premium card benefits and lower interest rates.
690-740 (Good): Signifies your good credit payment quality. You may gain amazing rewards and cashback with this credit score.
660- 689 (Average or Fair): The average credit score in Canada. It would provide you with great benefits. The interest rate would not be lower but you may get unsecured credit cards.
575-659 (Below Average): Below average credit score leading to a normal credit card accessibility though with a higher rate of interest.
300-574 (Poor): The lowest credit score, signifying that the individual has a bad credit history.
Now let’s dig into the average credit score in Canada.
Average Credit Score in Canada
660 is said to be the average credit score in Canada with each province and city vise credit score being different.
|Ontario||Toronto – 679|
Mississauga – 671
Ottawa – 663
Brampton – 646
Hamilton – 629
|Quebec||Quebec City – 676|
Montreal – 663
|Newfoundland and Labrador||St.John’s – 664|
|Alberta||Calgary – 650|
Edmonton – 625
|Nunavut||Iqaluit – 644|
|Saskatchewan||Regina – 642|
|Manitoba||Winnipeg – 638|
|Nova Scotia||Halifax – 638|
|New Brunswick||Fredericton – 628|
|British Columbia||Vancouver – 687|
Victoria – 679
|Northwest Territories||Yellowknife – 637|
|Prince Edward Island||Charlottetown – 636|
|Yukon||Whitehorse – 619|
As you can see in the table, Vancouver has the highest credit score of 687, while in second place it’s a tie between Toronto and Victoria with an average credit score of 679. In third place, it is Quebec City. The interesting thing is that Quebec has the highest number of individuals with the 750+ credit score and yet for its two major cities, the average credit score is below 750, at 676 and 663 respectively.
Talking about the lowest average credit score, Whitehorse ranks first with a score of 619. Apart from that, from the above-cited cities, only 13 of them have a credit score more than the average Canadian score of 660.
Age and Credit Score Mystery
As per the data study of Borrowell and Equifax, with increasing age, credit score also increases which suggests that age and credit score are highly correlated. As per Borrowell, individuals having the age group of 20 to 29 have an average credit score of 649. On the contrary, individuals in the age group of 70 to 79 tend to have 721 as their average credit score.
As per a survey conducted by Equifax, the following are the average credit scores as per different age groups analyzed for a decade.
Above 65: 750
Between 56 to 65: 737
Between 46 to 55: 718
Between 36 to 45: 710
Between 26 to 35: 697
Between 18 to 25: 692
As you can see, with increasing age, the credit score also raises. Do you know the reason? Well, there are plenty as described below.
Credit History and Responsible Financial Habits
As you grow older, you start to become responsible for your finances. You try to pay off your debts on time in part or full. You save, invest, and also as you get stability in your career, you gain financial stability as well.
That reflects in your credit history, with timely and consistently paying off the credit. Good credit history is related to a good credit score.
The Credit Mix
Credit mix refers to an individual holding different types of debts like credit card debt, mortgage debt, loan, etc. When you are younger, you have lower consumption of these kinds of debt. However, as you grow, you start a new family, buy a house, buy a car maybe, and in short, the way you take on debts changes and gets wider.
That affects your credit mix. Thus, when you pay your different debts on time, it increases your credibility, which in turn increases your average credit score.
Though, for a good credit score, the foremost thing you need to keep in mind is developing healthy personal finance habits, i.e. saving, investing, paying debt and bills on time, etc. This will eventually help you increase your credit score.
How Can You Improve Your Credit Score?
Even if your credit score is not what you have imagined, and facing issues in managing your finances, worry not as you can improve your rankings. Here is how!
Pay Off Bills in Full
A lot of individuals tend to pay only the minimum amount while paying off credit card debts, which if you want to improve your scores, you should avoid doing. Pay your bills and debts in full whenever possible and be consistent in that. This will reflect in your payment history which impacts the credit score significantly.
Credit Limit Utilization Under 30 Percent
A credit card comes in handy for paying bills and utilities, but when you overspend it, it shows badly on your credit score. It is the second-largest element affecting your credit rankings. You should at least have a 30 percent spare credit available on your card. In simple words, if your credit card limit is $5,000, you can spend $3,500 as you want, but have a limit of $1,500 unused.
Keep Track of Your Credit Score and Do Your Best
This is more like a motivating factor. The more you keep track of your credit scores, the more you would feel inspired to improve them. As per a Borrowell study, individuals with lower than 600 credit scores that checked their weekly credit rankings, saw improvement in their score by 43 points, while on average individuals checking their score, saw an improvement of 20 points.
It is not as hard as it may appear, anyone can do it. All you need is some patience and personal finance habits to get your credit score better or above the average rate. In the words of Evan Esar, “A batch of credit cards fattens a wallet before it thins it.” So be mindful and practice good personal finance!