Looking for an honest Borrowell review? Have you ever wanted to check your credit score but thought it cost money to do so? Well, I used to think so too! It used to cost around $20+ to check your credit score, but now, you can check it for free. I’ve been using Borrowell to check my free credit score in Canada for a few years.
Updated April 2022
Knowing your credit score is important part of your money management strategy. it is also important if you are planning to apply for a loan in the near future.
Loans such as:
- a mortgage
- a business loan
- credit cards
- Car loan
Your credit score is affected by a number of factors, including credit utilization, ability to pay off your debt, and longevity of the credit that you have (which is why many people don’t recommend closing down an account that has such longevity).
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Well, look no further, you can get your credit score for free with Borrowell. Here’s my Borrowell Review. Hopefully this will help you make a decision as to whether or not to check your credit score for free in Canada (because I think it is a no brainer since it is free to check your credit score in Canada!).
In this post reviewing Borrowell, I’ll explain what Borrowell is, how Borrowell actually makes money, what the Borrowell website interface looks like, and whether checking your credit score lowers your score.
What is Borrowell?
Borrowell is a Canadian fintech (or financial technology) company.
The Borrowell team is one of the first fintech companies to introduce free credit scores in Canada.
Borrowell changed the game of credit scores in Canada.
Amazingly, there are over two million Canadians who have received their credit score for free through Borrowell (and I am one of them!). That’s a lot of people who know what their credit score is, thanks to Borrowell’s innovation.
Borrowell is not just a random fintech company but in fact, is backed by some big name investors, including David Chilton from The Dragon’s Den and of course, The Wealthy Barber (my first ever personal finance book that I read) fame! By the way, David Chilton is a great follow on Twitter, always funny and humble.
How Does Borrowell Make Money?
You might be wondering how the Borrowell company makes any money if they offer a credit score checking service for free.
Traditionally (up until a few years ago at least), it cost money to check your credit score.
Borrowell are the first ones who changed this in Canada by offering the ability for Canadians to check their credit score for free.
How Borrowell makes money is by providing periodic recommendations to you.
Some of these recommendations Borrowell makes are:
- Credit card recommendations (tailored credit cards that you will have a high likelihood of getting approved for)
- Banking recommendations
- Personalized product offers
If you sign up for their recommendations, then Borrowell receives a commission from this (at no extra cost to you). Borrowell makes money through affiliate commissions in a way.
For example, here’s an email I received in my inbox recently, a recommendation for the Scotiabank Gold American Express. Although it was tempting to have another $100 Amazon.ca gift card, I had already recently signed up for this and cancelled this card last year, so I didn’t sign up for another credit card.
In addition, the other way that Borrowell makes money is that Borrowell offers a personal loan and they earn a fee on each loan that they provide.
For the Borrowell loan process, looking at their personal loans page, they charge between 5.99% to 29.19% annually- the rate that you get if you decide to borrow from Borrowell is dependent on your credit score. You can borrow up to $35,000 and the minimum is $1000 with the term being 3 or 5 years.
Is Borrowell Legit and Safe?
You may wonder how reliable is Borrowell.
Is Borrowell safe? Are free credit scores safe? Is Borrowell legit?
In this Borrowell review, I always wonder whether fintech is safe.
Borrowell states that they use the same level of encryption with your personal information as the big banks to make sure your information stays safe. The reassuring thing is that you don’t have to enter your credit card information or anything to access and receive the free credit score from Borrowell.
Here’s a thread on Reddit on Borrowell, and whether the Borrowell company is safe and legit.
BOrrowell Customer Service
I haven’t had to contact Borrowell with any concerns about my credit score.
Although there is no Borrowell customer service phone number, there is a an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Messages are responded to Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm EST.
Borrowell Inc. is based out of Toronto, Ontario.
What Does Borrowell Look Like?
What does the Borrowell app look like?
Is Borrowell Equifax or TransUnion? Does Borrowell use Equifax? Yes Borrowell does use Equifax.
Borrowell provides you your free Equifax Credit Score Report in Canada.
I get periodic emails from Borrowell to let me know that my credit score has been updated. I don’t check my credit score very often, but I usually do check it after I sign up for a credit card in my pursuit of credit card churning and credit card travel hacking to make sure my credit score didn’t go down too much.
Here’s my credit score from 2018:
The interface and Borrowell dashboard is nice to use and easy to read. It shows you your credit score when you log in to Borrowell. Thankfully a few months later my credit score is back up in the Excellent 800’s category!
Borrowell also has a Credit Score Tracker, so you can keep an eye on how your credit score is doing. As you can see in the credit score tracker, my credit score took a big dip after November because I applied for a new credit card at that time (or two).
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see genymoney.ca’s disclaimer for more information.
There’s also a button to check your full credit report from Equifax. You can check how many credit cards you have open and what your mortgage is and even when your credit file was first created!! This is probably my favourite feature of the Borrowell account (for example, the other free credit score checking service, Credit Karma, does not have this feature).
Also, you can see your recent credit inquiries as well. I found that the Borrowell credit score chart is very useful. Because of this chart of credit inquiries, this was where I realized I closed the wrong credit card in my travel hacking attempt (and lost 25,000 American Express MR points) when I meant to close the Scotiabank American Express Gold Card (but didn’t)- without realizing this I would have gotten charged an annual fee!
With this Borrowell review that I did, another great tool that Borrowell has is Molly the credit coach. Molly doesn’t seem to be a real person but an animated AI type character that looks friendly and reassuring. She seems to provide some really encouraging words about your credit score and how to improve it.
Here’s what Molly the credit coach recommended for me:
In addition, there are other tools that Borrowell has come up with so you can improve your credit score, including a free 7 day email course about how to improve your credit score in Canada with one lesson each week. I haven’t tried the email course yet but it sounds interesting.
I’m trying to cut back on the amount of email I have anyway to keep with my attempt at minimalism to my life so I didn’t sign up. Borrowell still does email me periodically with my updated credit score and with new offers or credit cards that I would likely get approved for.
Does Borrowell Affect Credit Score?
Does Borrowell affect credit score?
I also used to think that checking your credit score would lower your credit score, but I found out that it doesn’t.
Checking your credit score is considered a soft inquiry and soft inquiries don’t affect your credit score.
On the contrary, when you have a hard inquiry, it will lower your credit score. Hard inquiries are things like credit card applications or loan applications.
I don’t care too much about my credit score because I’m not borrowing any time soon, but I don’t want to be going crazy with my credit card applications for travel hacking purposes so that it affects my ability to get approved for credit cards!
My credit score did go down by about 20 points after I applied for a new credit card, but over time it eventually went back up to where it was, back in the 800 range (though this took about a few months).
Here’s some more information how checking your credit score doesn’t lower your credit score.
Why is There a Difference between Equifax and Transunion?
Is Borrowell accurate?
The credit bureau that Borrowell uses is Equifax. The other credit bureau in Canada is Transunion which can be accessed by Credit Karma.
Although your credit score isn’t supposed to differ very much (people don’t usually check both credit bureau scores unless you’re a curious personal finance blogger like myself) but there’s sometimes a 100 point difference (at least for me, when I check) because certain credit cards use different credit report agencies and there are different algorithms used to calculate your credit score.
Here’s some more information on why there is a difference between the Equifax and Transunion scores.
Check Your Credit Score in Canada for Free (and Get $10)
As mentioned earlier in this Borrowell review, I never checked my credit score because I always thought that it cost money to check and that it would lower my credit score. I learned that this is not true.
What credit bureau does Borrowell use? Borrowell uses Equifax. Borrowell is one of the game changers to this in Canada and has increased accessibility for many individuals to be able to check their credit score for free.
I check it probably a few times a year now, out of curiosity and as mentioned, after I apply for a credit card for travel hacking purposes.
Borrowell alternatives include using Credit Karma Canada, which checks your Transunion score.
Borrowell Refer a Friend
A lot of free apps are offering refer a friend bonuses, does Borrowell offer the same?
Borrowell is offering users a $10 referral if you refer a friend to Borrowell.
This is awesome since it’s free to sign up for Borrowell.
You can get $10 when your friend successfully signs up.
To Summarize this Borrowell Review…
What I like about Borrowell:
- I personally like the interface of Borrowell compared to Credit Karma, something about it being more appealing to the eye
- Borrowell has a Borrowell App that is easy to use
- I also like that for Borrowell, there is some additional information (like your history of open and closed credit cards etc.) that I find particularly useful when you are trying to access data on your credit score
- Borrowell offers a 7 day email course to help you increase your credit score
- I like the suggestions and personalization from Molly the credit coach
- Finally, I like that a full credit report from Equifax is available when you log in
- You can get a $10 for every friend you refer to Borrowell.
In summary, Borrowell is a great way to get a free credit report in Canada.
There we go, that’s my Borrowell review and opinion, hope you found this helpful. If you’re interested in checking your credit score and credit report for free with Borrowell, click here!
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GYM is a 40 something millennial writing about personal finance since 2009 and interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for a free dividend yield spreadsheet and the free Young Money Bootcamp PDF.