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Credit Invisibility in Canada: Newcomer access to credit improves over time

Rent, phone, and utility payments made by recent Canadian immigrants are examples of new, non-traditional data sources that credit bureaus may be able to collect.

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Credit Invisibility in Canada: Credit invisibility happens when a person’s credit history is too little or there is insufficient data for a reporting agency to generate “the most” accurate credit ratings.

Statistics Canada (StatsCan) put together a report that was released on Wednesday due to the widespread significance of establishing credit in Canada – whether it be for financing a vehicle, applying for a student loan, or obtaining a house, among other things. The ability of new immigrants to Canada to create credit and their results were the main subjects of this study.

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StatsCan used data from the Survey of Financial Security over the two years of 2016 and 2019 to evaluate credit invisibility among recent Canadian immigrants. This information was also utilised to examine the general accessibility of credit for immigrants to Canada.

Credit Invisibility in Canada Results

Data from the Survey of Financial Security’s 2016 and 2019 iterations were combined, and 92.5% of Canadian-born families fell into the category of credit visible. This percentage was only reached or exceeded among families with non-Canadian-born members after they had lived in the country for two to four years.

Note: The inverse of the values for credit visibility displayed indicated the credit invisibility for each category. For instance, if families with Canadian ancestry have a credit visibility rate of 92.5%, that would imply that 7.5% of those families are credit invisible.

Families in Canada had a credit visibility percentage of 93.9% for the two to four years in question. This percentage was only 85.2% prior to two years of residence in Canada.

It’s interesting to see that credit visibility among families with non-Canadian-born members increased steadily up until the “10-19 years in Canada” category, after which it decreased.

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What elements influenced the Credit Invisibility in Canada?

Notably, once financial and demographic factors were taken into account, the disparity in credit visibility between families with Canadian births and those who have immigrated to the nation for less than two years vanished.

This study explicitly examined the following seven general criteria to ascertain their influence on credit visibility among recent Canadian immigrants, even though they were evaluated across many models with different numbers of coefficients.

Residence Size

Families with three or more members have a higher likelihood of having credit visibility.


When age was considered solely in the study, older survey respondents were more likely to have higher credit visibility.


The data analysed by StatsCan revealed that households with higher levels of education had more credit available to them.

“A person with only a high school diploma or less was [less likely to be credit visible] than someone with a college or trade diploma, indicating that education does positively affect credit access.”

Assets and Income

A family that was surveyed was typically more credit-visible if they had greater income and assets. StatsCan claims that this is because having more assets and a higher income make it simpler to obtain credit.


In Canada, families with higher job levels were more credit-visible than families with lower employment levels. The report claims that this is because having a job makes it simpler “to obtain credit from financial institutions.”


Compared to families who spoke neither of the two official languages of Canada, those who spoke English, French, or both had higher credit visibility.

Since it takes time to establish credit as a new immigrant to a different nation, immigrants who had been in Canada for less than two years were inherently less likely to have credit visibility. The degree of credit visibility among recent immigrants is displayed as a function of years in Canada in the table at the top of this article.

After 60 years in Canada, non-Canadian-born families’ credit visibility dramatically decreased. StatsCan attributes this to a “likely… generational effect” and the possibility that “they may not have had a need for credit and thus [did not] have any credit products.”

Conclusion on Credit Invisibility in Canada

Prior to the start of the study, it was known that recent Canadian immigrants do not have a credit history in this nation. In rare circumstances, an immigrant’s home country credit history is also unavailable.

This study has shown that although immigrants are generally willing to establish credit and make themselves credit visible, they frequently struggle to get timely access to all credit products.

For newcomers to Canada, it is simple to obtain a cell phone and a secured or low-limit credit card. However, these items are only adequate for new Canadians to open credit files. In other words, they continue to leave immigrants from Canada with a weak credit history. Therefore, for a significant amount of their first several years in this country, this group is essentially invisible.

Meanwhile, immigrants find it difficult to get approved for larger amounts of credit on more substantial credit items since they can’t easily get a range of higher-limit credit products once they arrive in Canada. These include loans for a car or a house, for example.

According to the StatsCan study, not having access to these bigger credit products “can significantly affect an immigrant’s daily life and ability to create wealth.”

The authors of this paper offer one major recommendation in an effort to address these issues and enable immigrants to lessen credit invisibility and better access credit.

Rent, phone, and utility payments made by recent Canadian immigrants are examples of new, non-traditional data sources that credit bureaus may be able to collect. According to this idea, a strategic shift of this kind would make it easier for newcomers to Canada to access credit and make themselves more credit visible sooner since it would provide credit reporting organisations a chance to “inform the Canadian credit scores of newly arrived immigrants and [do so] earlier.”

Sweta Bharti
Sweta Bharti
Sweta Bharti is pursuing bachelor's in medicine. She is keen on writing on the trending topics.

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