Your Credit Report – what do I need to know?
What is a credit report?
A credit report is a report held by credit reporting agencies about your credit history.
It is used by lenders to assess your ability to pay back a loan.
What is on my credit report?
The information that is on your credit report includes:
· Your personal details such as your name, date of birth, current and past addresses, employment and driver's licence number.
· Any credit cards you currently have.
· A list of your current loans and the date they were opened.
· A list of any debts that were unpaid which you have now paid.
· Any default listings made against you by a lender or a utility company.
· How often you have made an application for credit or a loan?
· Whether there are any Court judgements against you?
· Whether you are Bankrupt or in a debt agreement?
· Information on each credit product you have had in the last 2 years including who you borrowed from and the credit limit.
· For some loans a record of your repayment history
· Any applications for commercial credit that you have made.
What are the things that will improve my credit report?
The most common things that will improve your credit report are:
· Paying your loans on time.
· Not having defaults on your credit report.
· Not having any Court judgements against you.
What are the things on my credit report that make it harder for me to get a loan or affect my credit report?
The most common things that affect your ability to get a loan are:
· A default listed on your credit report.
· Whether you are behind on payments on any loans you currently have.
· Whether there has been a Court judgement made against you?
· Whether you are currently bankrupt or in a debt agreement.
When can a default be listed?
A credit provider can list a default if:
· The debt is more than $150; and
· It is more than 60 days since the payment was due; and
· They have given you an opportunity by letter or email to pay the debt.
Can I get defaults removed from my credit report if I pay what is owing?
No, unfortunately paying a debt will not remove the default from your credit report. Instead the default will get changed from unpaid to paid.
The only circumstances when a default can be removed from a credit report is if:
· You never owed the money.
· It was listed against the wrong person.
· You were not given an opportunity to remedy the default by paying the arrears.
How long does a default stay on my credit report?
A default remains on your credit report for 5 years.
A serious credit infringement will remain on your credit report for 7 years. A ‘serious credit infringement’ occurs where:
· a debtor ignores attempts to contact them by the creditor; or
· where the credit provider was unable to contact a debtor despite repeated attempts to do so. Once you get in contact with the lender the serious credit infringement is removed but the default remains.
How many creditor reports do I have?
Each major credit reporting agency will have a credit report for you.
Equifax.com.au PO Box 966, North Sydney, NSW 2059
13 83 32
1300 734 806
Experian Credit Report GPO Box 1969, North Sydney, NSW 2060
1300 783 684
It is possible that there may be a difference between the credit reports held by different credit reporting agencies.
Can I get a copy of my credit report?
Yes you are entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report once a year. You obtain the report by providing information to the credit reporting agency including your name, date of birth and current address. The credit reporting agency is required to provide the report within 10 days.
Advertising on the news talks about my credit score, is that the same thing?
Some companies will advertise that they can provide you with a credit score and will ask you to pay a fee for that credit score. A credit score provides no additional valuable information on top of what you can receive by obtaining a free copy of your credit report. It just expresses the information in a different way.
What does it mean to have a bad credit report?
Having a bad credit report makes it harder for you to get a loan.
Where can I get help if I have a problem with my credit report?
You can get help by calling:
· a financial counsellor on 1800 007 007
· Legal Aid Queensland on 1300 65 11 88