Credit reports

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 report

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 report.

This is the type of information you will find in your credit report:

Personal details

Your name, date of birth, current and past addresses, employment and driver's licence number.

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 will appear on your credit report.

Arrears brought up to date

Any debts that were unpaid and overdue and have now been paid or settled.

Defaults

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.

Credit applications

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.)

Debt agreements

Any bankruptcies, court judgements, debt agreements or personal insolvency agreements in your name. 

Repayment history

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 missed payments)
  • 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 repayment history.

Check the 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.

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, and
  • 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 report

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 report faster.

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 letter.

Credit reporting agencies Email Phone number
Veda.com.au
PO Box 966, North Sydney NSW 2059
membership.query@veda.com.au 1300 762 207
CheckYourCredit.com.au (Dun and Bradstreet)
PO Box 7405, St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, VIC 3004
 pac.austral@dnb.com.au 1300 734 806
Experian Credit Report
GPO Box 1969, North Sydney, NSW 2060
 creditreport@au.experian.com 1300 783 684
Tasmanian Collection Service
GPO Box 814, Hobart TAS 7000
 enquiries@tascol.com.au 03 6213 5555

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)

Important

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 listing

Smart tip

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 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 incorrectly:

  • 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 wrong

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 incorrect
  • The creditor failed to notify you about the outstanding debt
  • 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 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. 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 report

""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.

Debt type Where to get assistance

Landline telephones, mobile phones and internet

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman  1800 062 058

Electricity, gas and water

Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW  1800 246 545

Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria  1800 500 509

Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland  1800 662 837

Energy and Water Ombudsman Western Australia  1800 754 004

Energy and Water Ombudsman Tasmania  1800 001 170

Credit cards, finance, bank loans, investment products, insurance

Financial Ombudsman Service  1800 367 287

Credit and Investment Ombudsman  1800 138 422

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 OAIC.

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 scams

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 scams.

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 theft.


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Last updated: 28 Jul 2016