Check your credit health
If you've ever applied for credit or a loan, there will probably
be a report about you with a credit reporting agency. Credit
providers use this report to assess your capacity to repay a new
loan or credit card, or if you seek to increase your limit on an
existing loan or credit card.
It's a good idea to check your credit report every year to make
sure there are no mistakes that could affect your credit record and
your ability to get credit. You can get a copy of your credit
report for free if you can wait 10 working days. You may have to
pay if you need it quicker.
Find out 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
This is the type of information you will find in your credit
Your name, date of birth, current and past addresses, employment
and driver's licence number.
A joint applicant's name will appear if you applied for the
credit with another person and both your names appear on the credit
Information about the credit cards you hold will appear on your
Arrears brought up to date
Any debts that were unpaid and overdue and have now been paid or
Defaults and any other credit infringements are also listed.
These could be utility bills or loan payments which are 60 days or
more overdue and where debt collection activity has started. See
more details about defaults.
Any credit you've applied for including any loans you have been
the guarantor on. (Find out how
guaranteeing a loan can affect your credit report.)
Any bankruptcies, court judgements, debt agreements or personal
insolvency agreements in your name.
Information about your repayment history on credit accounts,
like your home loan, personal loans or credit cards, has been
collected from December 2012 and can be seen on your credit report
from March 2014.
The repayment history information includes:
- The date your credit payments were due
- Whether or not you made the payments by the due date (no
payment or partial payment by the due date are both considered
- The dates which you made any missed payments (but not the
amounts that were missed)
Your credit report will not include information
about your repayment history for these types of bills:
- utilities (electricity, water or gas)
- phone bills (home phone, mobile phone and internet)
Commercial credit applications
From March 2014 your credit report will also list any commercial
or business loans you have applied for.
Who has requested your report
Your credit report will also list which credit providers have
requested copies of your credit report.
More information on changes to your credit report is in the Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner's fact sheet on credit reporting and
Check the defaults on your
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
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
that your creditor can't get in contact with 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. You may have to pay if you need the
You can get a copy of your credit report from these credit
reporting agencies. Some agencies have a form to fill out on their
website, others allow you to email them your details or send them a
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 reporting agency. If
you live in Tasmania you may need to check with the Tasmanian
Collection Service and Veda. If you live in other states you may
need to check with Veda, CheckYourCredit.com.au (Dun and
Bradstreet) and Experian.
Check and correct a wrong
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.
Be sure to check that any loans or debts
listed are actually yours and check details like your name and date
of birth. 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
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 need updating
- 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
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 its records to
- 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. You can dispute the listing 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
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.
What to do if you can't resolve the problem
If you are not able to sort out the problem with the assistance
of an Ombudsman, 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
The time limit to make a complaint may be different for each
Ombudsman service, so please check with the one most relevant to
you. If the wrong listing has caused you financial loss, include
this in your complaint.
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: 28 Jul 2016