Factsheet: Your credit report
ONLINE TEXT VERSION - February 2014
If you've ever applied for credit or a loan
(whether or not you went ahead), you are likely to have a credit
Credit providers use the information in your credit report to
help work out whether you can afford a loan, or a larger credit
limit on an existing loan, and whether you are likely to repay
It's a good idea to check your credit report every year.
As well as affecting your ability to get credit, incorrect listings
can alert you to things like identity theft, where other people use
your personal information for financial gain (see
TIP: Check your credit report
- The Privacy Act says how the information in your credit report
can be used. It also gives you the right to find out what's in your
report and change any incorrect information. Credit providers must
tell you if your application has been rejected because of something
in your credit report.
- You are entitled to check your credit report for free
once a year. If you need to see it quickly, there may be a
charge, but if you are prepared to wait a little longer (around 10
days) it won't cost you anything.
- Here are some possible problems to check for:
- Your name or date of birth might be incorrect.
- Your address may need updating.
- A debt might be listed twice or the amount might be wrong.
- You may have missed one repayment on your loan but were never
60 days in default.
- Someone might have stolen your identity to get credit.
How does a credit report work?
Your credit report details your credit history.
Credit reporting agencies collect information from credit providers
who subscribe to their services. You can get a copy of your credit
report from these agencies:
You could have a credit report with more than one agency.
Tasmanians should check with the Tasmanian Collection Service and
Equifax. If you live in other states, check with Equifax, Dun and
Bradstreet and Experian.
Here's what might be listed in your report:
- Your personal details. Your name, date of
birth, current and past addresses, employment and driver's licence
- Your credit history. Listings of any credit or
loans you have applied for, defaults (overdue payments of 60 days
or more where collection activity has started) and any other credit
infringements (infringements can be listed for up to five years
after they occurred, or seven years for serious
- Repayment history. Dates your credit payments
were due, whether or not you made the payments by the due date,
which dates you missed any payments.
- Other information. Bankruptcies (for up to
seven years after they occurred), court judgments, debt agreements
and personal insolvency agreements (for up to five years after they
What is identity
Identity theft is where other people use your
personal information for their financial gain. For example, someone
might run up debts on your credit card or try to apply for credit
in your name.
If you think someone has accessed your account, talk with your
credit provider. If you are contacted about debts with a credit
provider you have never used, it is a good idea to contact all the
credit reporting agencies as well as the Financial Ombudsman
Service (FOS) by calling 1800 367 287 or visiting fos.org.au. In both cases, you
should also inform your local police.
For more information about identity theft and protecting your
financial identity, go to protectfinancialid.org.au
Jin had an incorrect listing on his credit report
Jin had a personal loan with a bank. Even though he'd been
meeting all his repayments, he got a default notice on his loan.
Unfortunately, due to a processing error, his payments had not been
credited to the loan for two 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 two years later, his
application was rejected because of the old default listing from
his bank on his now repaid personal loan. Jin contacted the bank
and asked them to investigate and correct the listing, which they
did. He then reapplied and was successful in obtaining a home
Changing an incorrect listing
If you don't agree with what's on your credit report, you can
request to have it changed. Incorrect listings should be changed
for free. However, a credit report cannot be changed unless a
listing is shown to be inaccurate or out of date.
Avoid debt solution companies that claim they can 'improve' your
credit report, especially those that charge fees for services that
credit reporting agencies provide free.
In most cases, default listings and other information about your
credit history cannot be removed from a report unless it is proven
to be incorrect. Listings usually remain on a credit report for the
maximum period under the Privacy Act (five or seven years).
Follow these steps to change an incorrect listing
- Talk with the credit reporting agency first.
They may be able to fix small errors straight away. For others,
they will help you through the steps needed to make a change. They
may offer to contact credit providers for you.
- Talk with your credit provider. Contact your
credit provider and explain why the listing is misleading or
incorrect. If they don't fix the problem, go directly to your
credit provider's independent dispute resolution scheme. This will
be either the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) at fos.org.au (phone 1800 367 287) or
the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) at cio.org.au (phone 1800 138 422).
- Listing still incorrect? Contact the Privacy
Commissioner. If you still haven't been able to sort out
the problem after going to your provider's dispute resolution
scheme, contact the Office of the Information Commissioner (go to
You have 12 months from the date you became aware of the problem to
file a complaint. If the incorrect listing has caused you financial
loss, include this in your complaint.
ASIC Infoline: 1300 300 630
Disclaimer:Please note that this is a summary
giving you basic information about a particular topic. It does not
cover the whole of the relevant law regarding that topic, and it is
not a substitute for professional advice.
© Australian Securities and Investments Commission 2014
Last updated: 15 Mar 2017