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Published June 26, 2024
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Understanding Your Credit Report In Australia

A credit report is a record of your credit history in Australia and is used to calculate your credit score. The included information helps lenders evaluate your creditworthiness.

Your credit report is a comprehensive record of your credit history in Australia. It includes specific financial information like the amount of credit you have, whether you miss a credit card payment or are late paying bills. Lenders use this information to help determine your creditworthiness and whether you qualify for certain products. 

Knowing what’s on your report and how it works can help you catch errors, fix negative trends and potentially help to improve your credit rating.   

What is a credit report in Australia?

Credit reports in Australia contain current and historical information on specific financial data, such as mortgage payments, credit card limits and missed utility payments. For the most part, your credit report only contains information from the previous five years. However, some data, such as serious credit infringements, can stay on your report for up to seven years. 

Credit report vs score and rating

The terms ‘credit rating’, ‘credit score’ and ‘credit report’ are often used interchangeably in Australia, but they’re not the same. 

  • A credit report is a record of a person’s credit history. 
  • A credit score is a number based on personal and financial information detailed in the report. 
  • A credit rating is the ‘band’, or range, that a credit score falls under, such as fair or good).   

» MORE: How to get your free credit score

Credit reporting bureaus in Australia

Australia has three major credit bureaus, or credit reporting agencies, responsible for collecting the information on your credit report: Equifax, Experian and illion. 

Each operates independently and receives information from various lenders and public sources, so what you see on your credit report may vary by agency.  

What is Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR)?

Since 2017, the Big Four banks — Westpac, NAB, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ — as well as most consumer credit providers, have participated in Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR). This means all relevant data (both positive and negative) is recorded in your report. Prior to CCR, only negative data was recorded.

Comprehensive reporting includes information like the type of credit used, when it was opened, and the credit limit applied. CCR gives lenders a more indepth look at a borrower’s true credit standing and their ability to repay a loan.

Information your report includes

Information includedHow long it stays on your report
Personal information (name, date of birth, address, and employer).Indefinitely.
Credit product details, such as:
• type of credit
• provider information
• credit limit
• account opening and closing dates
• joint account holder information, if applicable
• repayment amount
• repayment due dates
• late or missed payments.
Two years.
Financial hardship arrangements. Only the length and permanency of the agreement are visible to lenders.One year.
Defaults on credit cards, utility bills and loans.Five years.
Number of applications for credit, as well as credit report requests from providers, the amount you borrow and whether the credit is guaranteed.

Five years.
Bankruptcies and serious credit infringements, as well as debt agreements, court judgments or personal insolvency agreements.Two, five or seven years, depending on the circumstance.

» MORE: What affects your credit score?

How to check your credit report 

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every three months. The Government website MoneySmart, recommends requesting a credit report at least once a year. 

50% of Australians don’t know how to access their credit report, according to the 2022 Equifax Australian Credit Scorecard report[1]

To request a free copy of your credit report, contact one or all of the three credit reporting agencies: 

Equifax credit reportOnline: Website form
By phone: 13 8332
By mail: Mail your request to PO Box 964, NORTH SYDNEY NSW 2059.
Experian credit reportOnline: Website form
By phone: 1300 783 684
Illion credit reportOnline: Website form
By mail: Complete the application form, include all necessary documents, and mail to the address on the form.

The waiting period for a credit report is between two to 10 days, depending on how to order it.

🤓 Nerdy Tip

Be sure to only request copies from Australia’s three major credit reporting agencies. Be wary of any provider who tries to charge you for a report or asks for your credit card details. 

Things to look out for in your credit report

Regularly reviewing your credit report is a smart money management practice and can help you stay on track with your financial goals. Here are a few things to look out for when you get your report.

Unfamiliar accounts

Look for any accounts that you don’t recognise. If someone has stolen your identity, they may be applying for credit under your name and racking up debt. If this happens, you can contact IDCARE, the national identity and cyber support service, for help.  

» MORE: How is credit card fraud detected?

Forgotten accounts

Make sure all of the active accounts on your report are the ones you want open. For example, an old credit card account you thought you closed may still be open, charging fees and accruing interest.

» MORE: How to cancel a credit card the right way

Errors

Reviewing your report annually is a good opportunity to check for errors. For instance, make sure all personal information on your credit report is accurate and up-to-date.

Challenge any errors you find by contacting the credit provider or credit bureau that issued your report.

🤓 Nerdy Tip

If you are concerned that your credit report has been compromised by identity theft or fraud, you can request a credit ban. This will place a temporary ‘freeze’ on your report and prevent would-be thieves from taking out credit in your name.

Article Sources

Works Cited
  1. Equifax Australia, “2022 Equifax Australian Credit Scorecard,” accessed June 26, 2024.

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