Check your credit health
If you've ever applied for credit or a loan, there will be a
report about you with a credit reporting agency which lenders use
to assess your ability to repay credit. You can get a free copy of
your credit report each year to make sure it is correct.
Here we explain how to get your free report and correct any
mistakes on your report.
What's in your credit
Your credit report contains information about your credit
history. The information is collected from credit providers, courts
and other organisations by credit
reporting agencies. Here is a sample credit
Comprehensive credit reporting and how it's changing your
From February 2018, some banks will be putting additional
information about the credit products you hold on your credit
report which will give a more complete picture of your credit
However, these banks are only required to add this new
information to your report from July 2018.
The new information will include:
- the type of credit products you have held in the last 2
- your usual repayment amount
- how often you make your repayments and if you make them by the
What information is in your credit report?
You will find the following information in your credit
- Personal details - Your name, date of birth,
current and past addresses, employment and driver's licence
- Joint applicant - A joint applicant's name
will appear if you applied for the credit with another person and
both your names appear on the credit card contract.
- Credit cards - Information about the credit
cards you hold.
- Arrears brought up to date - Any debts that
were unpaid and overdue and have now been paid or settled.
- Defaults and other credit infringements -
These could be utility bills or loan payments which are 60 days or
more overdue and where debt collection activity has
- Credit applications - Any credit you've
applied for including loans you have been the guarantor on. (Find out how guaranteeing a
loan can affect your credit report.)
- Debt agreements - Any bankruptcies, court
agreements or personal insolvency agreements in your name.
- Credit liability information - For each
credit product you have held in the last two years, information on
the type of credit product, credit limit and opening and/or closing
dates of the account will be included in your report. The identity
of the credit provider is also included.
- Repayment history - The date your credit
payments were due, whether or not you made the payments by the due
date (non payment or partial payment by the due date are both
considered missed payments), and the dates you made any missed
payments (but not the amounts that were missed). This information
is provided for credit products held in the last 2 years.
- Commercial credit applications - Any
commercial or business loans you have applied for since March
- Report requests - Which credit providers have
requested copies of your credit report.
Your credit report does not include information about your
payments of utility bills (electricity, water or gas) or phone
bills (home, mobile and internet), unless you have missed a payment
on any of these by at least 60 days.
Defaults on your credit report
If you don't make payment on a debt, your credit provider may
refer your debt to a debt collector and/or
report your debt to a credit reporting agency and ask them to
record the default on your credit report. This may include defaults
on your utility and phone bills.
A credit provider may only report your debt if:
- The default amount is $150 or more
- You're a 'confirmed missing debtor' or 'clearout' which means
your creditor can't contact you, or
- 60 days or more have passed since the due date for payment,
- The creditor has asked you to pay the debt either in person
(for example by phone call) or in writing (sending a written notice
to your last known address)
The credit provider must notify you that they may lodge a report
about the overdue payment, before they do so. Usually, your credit
contract or service agreement will explain when your creditor may
make a report about you to a credit reporting agency.
How long will a default be listed?
A credit default listing remains on your report for 5 years (in
the case of a clearout it remains for 7 years). If you
pay the debt, the listing stays but your credit report will be
updated to show you have made payments.
When you apply for credit down the track, for example for a home
loan or business loan, you may be rejected on the basis that there
is a default listed on your credit report. Credit providers
must tell you if your application has been rejected because of
something in your credit report.
Get a free copy of your credit
You have the right to find out what's in your credit report and
correct any wrong information. You can receive a free copy once a
year if you can wait 10 days from the date you request it. If you
need a credit report sooner, or if you want more than one copy in a
year, you may have to pay.
You can get a copy of your credit report from these credit
You'll need to provide the credit reporting agency with the
following information to get a copy of your report:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Current address
- Previous address
- Day time phone number
- Current or previous employer
- A copy of your driver's licence, passport, birth certificate or
Proof of Age card
- A document issued by an official body which includes your name
and address (eg. rates notice, utility bill or bank statement)
You could have a report with more than one
If you live in Tasmania you may need to check with the Tasmanian
Collection Service and Equifax. If you live in other states you may
need to check with Equifax, CheckYourCredit.com.au (Dun and
Bradstreet) and Experian.
How to check and correct wrong
When you get your credit report you should check all the loans
or debts listed are actually yours and check details like your name
and date of birth.
If there are loans or credit in your report that you know
nothing about, it could mean someone has stolen your identity
and taken out loans in your name. See identity
fraud for what to do.
If you don't agree with what's in your credit report, you can
ask to have it changed or ask for your comments to be added to your
report. It's free to update your credit report to remove incorrect
listings, but your credit report can only be changed if a listing
is inaccurate or out of date.
Here are some typical mistakes to look for in your credit report
and how you can get a wrong listing changed.
Mistakes by the credit reporting agency
The credit reporting agency may have reported your information
- Your name or date of birth may be wrong or your address may
- A debt may be listed twice or the amount of a debt may be
To fix this kind of error, contact the credit reporting agency
you got the report from. They may be able to fix a small error
straight away or help you get it changed.
Mistakes by the creditor
A creditor may have reported information inaccurately or
wrongly. Here are some examples:
- You may have been incorrectly listed as being in credit default
(having an overdue payment of 60 days or more where debt collection
activity has started) or the amount in default may be
- The creditor failed to notify you about the outstanding
- A default listing was made while the debt was in dispute
- A payment arrangement was in place, or the terms were
renegotiated, and the credit provider did not update their records
to reflect this
- An account was created in error or as a result of fraud by a
third party (see identity fraud)
To fix this kind of error, follow these steps:
- If you think you have had a credit default wrongly listed
against you, contact the creditor and ask for it to be removed. If
the creditor agrees the listing is wrong, they will ask the credit
reporting agency to remove the listing from your report.
- If you are not satisfied with the response you get from the
creditor, contact the relevant Ombudsman service for help
- You may be able to put a ban on your account free of charge to
ensure only credit providers can access your account.
Case study: Jin had an incorrect listing in his credit
Jin had a personal loan
with a bank. Even though he'd been meeting all his repayments, he
received a default notice on his loan. Due to a processing error,
his payments had not been credited to the loan for 2 months. The
bank fixed the problem and adjusted the interest charged. Jin paid
out the personal loan about a year later.
When Jin applied for a home loan 2 years later, his application
was rejected because of the old default listing on his personal
loan. Jin contacted the bank and asked them to investigate and
correct the listing, which they did. He reapplied for his home loan
and got it.
Get free help from an Ombudsman
If you're unhappy with your creditor's response, an Ombudsman
can help you by looking into whether the credit listing is wrong
and should be removed. The Ombudsman can then order the creditor to
ask the credit reporting agency to remove the listing. You will not
be charged any fees for this assistance.
The time limit for making a complaint may be different for each
Ombudsman service, so check with the one most relevant to you. If
the wrong listing has caused you financial loss, include this in
Financial counsellors also offer
a free debt help service. They can negotiate repayment arrangements
with your creditors, explain your debt options and help you apply
for a hardship variation.
What to do if you can't resolve the problem
If an Ombudsman is unable to help you sort out the problem, you
can lodge a complaint with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
(OAIC) on 1300 363 992. You have 12 months from the date you
became aware of the problem to make a complaint to the OAIC.
Beware of credit report
Don't search for credit
reporting agencies over the internet, as you may find fake
sites offering 'free credit reports' that are really out to scam
you. If you want to contact a credit reporting agency online, type
its URL into the address bar of your web browser.
If a business offers you a free credit report, they shouldn't
need your credit card details. So don't provide these unless you
understand why the agency is asking for them.
Never follow an email link offering a free credit report, or
respond to an unsolicited email offering a free credit report -
delete it. It is likely to be a scam, trying to trick you
into giving out your personal information. For more
information see banking and credit card
Stay on top of your credit health by checking
your credit report every year. Wrong listings not only affect your
ability to obtain credit, but can alert you to things like identity
Last updated: 18 Apr 2018