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Credit Scores and Mortgage Shopping

Credit-Scores-Mortgage When you apply for a mortgage your lender or mortgage planner will almost always check your credit.  Most Canadian lenders use Equifax for this purpose.

Here are a few things you may or may not know about the process:

  • When a bank or mortgage professional initially checks your credit score, your score goes down.
  • According to a source at Equifax, your score can drop anywhere from roughly 5 to 20 points on the first mortgage inquiry.
  • After the first inquiry, a 30-day clock starts ticking.  During this time you can have multiple mortgage inquiries without negatively impacting your score.  But there’s a catch.
  • The person making the inquiry MUST use Equifax’s “mortgage code” when requesting your credit score.  (If you’re a mortgage professional you can tell if you’re using the right code by checking if “FM” is in your Equifax member number. )
  • Mortgage planners from all the big broker firms use the mortgage code.
  • Big banks may or may not use the mortgage code, according to the Equifax rep we spoke with.
  • Credit unions often have their own unique code.


Factoid:  When a lender or mortgage planner pulls your credit, he/she sees your credit score before the impact of that inquiry.  The next person to check your credit will see a different (lower) score because the first mortgage inquiry will have reduced it.