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What are Public Records on Credit Report?

4 min read

what are public records on a credit report

Written By

Brandi Marcene

You’ve just seen the latest model of your favourite car and want to buy one for yourself. You are considering buying it in instalments but want to know if your previous credit scores can have an impact on this deal. Yes, you can be sure that important financial information will be reviewed whenever a potential lender has to decide whether you are good enough to risk a loan against or not.

Public records refer to information that is on file with legal and municipal authorities. Some of these details can also appear on your credit records as part of your credit history. If you want to get a loan or apply for a credit card from a bank, the prospective lender will want to check your credit history to see if you have a good record and can be trusted to pay back the loan. This is how information in public records can affect you financially.

In this post, we are going to look at what records are available in the public domain and how they affect your credit. We will also look at how you can have incorrect information removed, as well as other details that appear on your credit history beyond the legally admissible period.

We will try understanding your credit report and look at the information that impacts your ability to purchase items on credit.

What are Public Records?

Public records refer to information that is available with local, federal, and municipal authorities. If you have filed a case in a Court of Law or someone has taken legal action against you, it then becomes a matter of public record. Similarly, legal and financial actions such as foreclosure or tax lien can also have an impact on your credit standing.

When it comes to financial health, bankruptcy is one situation where the details become a matter of public record. Whether you’ve filed Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy, these instances will appear in your credit history and impact lender’s decisions for several years.

How Public Records Impact Your Credit Score

Public records such as bankruptcy filings, tax liens, and foreclosures can negatively impact your credit score in Canada. However, a major decision taken in 2018 resulted in tax liens and civil judgments being removed from credit reports. You will find that bankruptcy is the only major item that is reported in your credit history. Now, we will discuss how bankruptcy affects your credit score and whether you can do anything to reduce its effects.

Public record information can include credit information such as a Credit Report that reflects credit scores and is prepared by credit reporting agencies in Canada like Equifax and TransUnion. Civil judgments in Court records are also included. Banking information relates to your accounts and credit card history with different banks.

Understanding Bankruptcy and Credit Reports

Your debts could be substantially over and above your assets, and you have no other way of meeting these obligations. One way you can manage this situation is by filing for bankruptcy, which means that you have declared yourself unable to pay off your creditors.

Different Types of Bankruptcy Filings

There are many kinds of bankruptcy filings allowed in Canada. Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy are the most commonly encountered. Bankruptcy can be filed in a personal capacity, or it can relate to your small business venture. There are also instances of bankruptcy being filed by corporate forms of business.

When you file for bankruptcy, the information is given to Credit Bureaus and is visible to anyone who accesses your credit records.

A filing under Chapter 7 means that you can attach some assets to discharge part of your debt immediately, and the rest of your liabilities will be written off. Chapter 11 bankruptcy means that a planned schedule of repayment will be made out. The records of the bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for 7 to 10 years from the date of the filing.

Consumer Proposal is another instance of bankruptcy. The case will be filed with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. Your debts must be no more than $250,000, and you must agree to pay them off within 2 to 5 years. It will be reported to the Credit Bureaus and will be on record, visible to anyone who requests your credit history.

Credit Report Authorization

When you apply for a loan or want to purchase an item on credit, the seller would like access to your credit information to see if you are a trustworthy borrower. They could send you a credit authorization request, which is generally filled out online. You have to give them express permission to access your credit information. But there are some areas where only an oral intimation or a phone call is sufficient, so it depends.

The Impact of Bankruptcy on Your Credit Score

Bankruptcy can negatively impact your credit report's public record, causing it to drop significantly. It's due to the following reasons:

  • Broken Trust: Bankruptcy means that you cannot manage your financial obligations properly. It is a cause of concern for lenders.

  • Increased Risk: There is a higher risk that you will default on future loans.

  • Negative Information: The bankruptcy record is a negative mark on your credit report. It lowers your credit score.

What Can Be Done to Repair Your Credit Score

Don’t worry, the bankruptcy records will not remain in your credit records forever. You can boost your credit score by taking the following steps:

Checking Your Credit Report

It's important to check your credit report regularly with the right credit reporting agency. This way, you can confirm that the information is correct. There are no costs involved in accessing your records once a year.

Resolving Errors on Your Report

If there is any inaccurate information in the bankruptcy details, like the date of filing or the type, you can take it up with the Credit Bureau. The process and resources are available with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).

Rebuilding Your Credit

You can move to rebuild your credit score by practising responsible habits. This includes paying on time for current transactions and wisely managing your credit card balances.

KOHO can help you begin your journey of building your credit score. Supercharge your credit today with no applications or interest, and guaranteed approval.

Understanding Your Credit Report

Your consumer credit report is a statement of your credit history in summary form. It can include personal information, employer details, and credit history. Reading these details is key to understanding your credit report.

Consumer credit reports typically include information such as:

Personal Information: This includes your name, address, Social Insurance Number (SIN), date of birth, and employment information.

Credit Accounts: Details about your credit accounts, including credit cards, loans, mortgages, and lines of credit. This includes information about the type of account, credit limit or loan amount, current balance, payment history, and any late or missed payments.

Inquiries: Records of who has accessed your credit report within a certain period, including both voluntary inquiries (e.g., when you apply for credit) and involuntary inquiries (e.g., when a lender checks your credit as part of a pre-approved offer).

Public Records: Information from public records, such as bankruptcies, liens, and judgments, which can impact your creditworthiness.

Credit Score: A numerical representation of your creditworthiness, based on the information in your credit report. In Canada, credit scores typically range from 300 to 900, with higher scores indicating better creditworthiness.

How is a Credit Score Calculated?

Now, we look at how a credit score is calculated. Your credit score is a number between 300 and 900. It is calculated by a Credit Bureau taking into account various factors. It represents your creditworthiness.

The factors that have an impact on your credit score include the following:

  1. Payment History: This makes up 35% of your credit score. Late payments of 30 days or above will negatively impact your credit score.

  2. Credit Utilization: This contributes to 30% of your score. You can calculate it by totalling the total credit card outstanding, dividing it by the total limit of your credit cards, and multiplying it by 100. Experts recommend that your utilization does not exceed 30% because it reflects responsible credit behaviour.

  3. Credit History: It considers how long have you been buying on credit and your repayment history. It has an impact of 15% on your credit score.

  4. Types of Credit: It can affect 10% of your credit score. Keeping a healthy mix of credit types like mortgages, loans, and credit cards will have a positive impact.

  5. Credit Inquiries: When a bank or lender checks your credit history, it's known as a hard inquiry. This relates to 10% of your credit card score. Too many credit inquiries can have a negative effect or indicate that you’re in some kind of financial trouble.

A credit score of 660 or above is considered good. It allows you to get the best deals at affordable rates. On the other hand, a low credit score can result in the rejection of credit requests or higher interest rates for credit transactions.

How Long Does it Take to Fix Credit?

You must be wondering how long it does it take to fix credit. If you are in a bad credit situation, it may take a long time to improve your credit score. It can take anything from 6 months to a couple of years or even more. You should pay off high-interest loans regularly, reduce credit utilization, and consider using a secured credit card backed by your own funds that guarantees repayment.


Now that you know what is on public records on a credit report, you can take steps to build your credit with KOHO. Once you’ve signed up for our Credit Building Plan, you will even get a free credit score once a month. You can try our virtual credit card, which has overdraft protection coverage and our high-interest savings account that gives you 5% interest as well! So join up with KOHO today to enjoy all these advantages and more.

Note: KOHO product information and/or features may have been updated since this blog post was published. Please refer to our KOHO Plans page for our most up to date account information!


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