When you apply for any loan (including credit cards) or you want to take out a phone or internet contract or connect the gas or electricity to your home, a key aspect is your credit report.
In Australia we have four credit reporting agencies. Each may hold different information on you.
As your loan, telecommunication or utility application will be made or broken by the contents of these reports it’s a good idea to know what the report will say.
Here’s a summary of the information you’ll find on a credit report:
You need to do this as a precaution against mistakes and identity theft at least once per year even if you aren’t intending to take any new loans out.
As noted above these are highlighted on your report. Once you’ve paid any debt listed then the lender or creditor is obliged to update each credit reporting agencies’ data. However each overdue listing will stay on your report for five years.
Lenders view defaults on bills very negatively even after they’ve been paid.
These will occur when a credit provider can’t contact you about an unpaid debt. These remain on your credit file for seven years. However if they’re paid then they will be listed in the overdue section of your report and will remain on your report for 5 years.
From mid-March 2014 the following information will appear on your credit file:
At this point in time this data is only made available to banks and other credit providers. It isn’t made available to telecommunication or utility companies.
In a future article we’ll discuss what to do about fixing problems in your credit file.
ADF Financial Services Consumer Centre