TORONTO — An Ontario couple decided when they retired they would sell their home and travel the world, but then came COVID-19.
“Our plan was to start travelling and see the world, but the pandemic came along and changed everything,” Patricia Bartkiw told CTV News Toronto.
Patricia and her husband Myron now rent a home in Whitby, Ont. and decided last fall since they can’t travel they would buy another home.
When they went to the bank to get a mortgage, they were denied because they were told Patricia had a zero credit score or not available credit score.
The couple say they were shocked.
In July 2017, Patricia’s credit score was 771 and in May 2020 it was 670. In October, when they went to buy a home it was zero.
“Everything is paid off, our cars are paid off and we are paying rent so that automatically gets paid through the bank each month,” Patricia Bartkiw said.
“We’ve never been in debt, we have never owed anything and we have never missed a payment,” Myron added.
A credit score is a number that is assigned to an individual by credit bureaus to help banks and other lenders decide if you’re a good credit risk. Scores usually range 300 and 900, with a higher score meaning you’re a better risk.
The couple said while they could still buy a home without a mortgage they don’t want to use up all their equity.
“We are sitting in limbo and we can’t buy anything,” Myron said, adding “it makes no sense at all.”
When CTV News Toronto reached out to Equifax, a spokesperson said that credit scores are calculated in different ways and there needs to be activity to generate one.
“While there is no such thing as a score of zero…consumers may not be aware after a period of no credit activity their credit files may become ‘unscoreable,'” Equifax said.
In Patricia’s case Equifax said “The individual’s credit file was not scoreable due to a lack of reported credit activity.”
Equifax reviewed her file and said while it was in order at the time, recent activity helped generate a credit score of 700.
With a credit score, Patricia and her husband can now show lenders she is a good credit risk and she and her husband can now get a mortgage to buy a new home.
“I feel pretty good and it shows that I now exist,” she said.
If you’re planning to buy a house, a car or some other large purchase you may want to check your credit score beforehand to make sure there are no mistakes.
You may also have to generate some credit activity to make sure you have a credit score.
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