Credit score and reports

If you have ever applied for credit or a loan, it is likely that there will be a credit report about you with a credit reporting body. This is information about your credit history. It may be used in the future by lenders to work out your credit score (or credit rating) to see if you can afford a loan, or a larger credit limit on an existing loan, and whether you are likely to repay it.

You can check the information recorded on your credit report. You can request a free copy of your credit report once a year. You can also request a free copy if you have been refused credit within the past 90 days, or your credit reporting information has been corrected.

 Find out:

  • Where does the information in my credit report come from?
  • What information is listed in a credit report?
  • What is your repayment history?
  • How your credit report may affect your ability to get credit.
  • How you can get a copy of your credit report.
  • What can you do if you think a listing on your credit file is incorrect.

Where does the information in my credit report come from?

The information in your credit report is collected from lenders or credit providers, courts and other organisations by credit reporting agencies. For more information on the MoneySmart website click here.

What information is listed in a credit report?

The credit-related personal information held about you is regulated by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), the Privacy Regulation 2013 and the Privacy (Credit Reporting) Code 2014. These cover what is allowed to be on reports about your credit, deletion of information, access to credit information and accuracy and the security of the information held. 

A credit report will list your personal details, the credit products such as credit cards or loans you have taken out over the last two years, your repayment history for these credit products, defaults on utility bills, phone bills, credit cards and loans (there are laws about when a credit provider can list defaults  on your credit report ), any hardship or varied arrangement you have entered into with a credit provider, credit applications, information about bankruptcies, debt agreements and personal insolvency agreements in your name, and requests for your credit report that have been made by your credit provider. Court judgments can also be listed in your credit report however, any judgments or proceedings that are listed must relate to credit only.

What is my repayment history?

For each credit product such as a credit card or a loan you have held in the last 2 years your repayment history includes:

  • repayment amount
  • the day on which the monthly payment is due and payable
  • how often you paid and if you paid by the due date
  • missed or late payments. An overdue listing can be made if you are at least fourteen days overdue in payment
  • Note: repayment history information can only be collected on credit regulated under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009. Repayment history information does not apply to overdue payments for non-consumer credit bills such as utility bills as these can only be listed as a default if payment is overdue by at least 60 days.

How will my credit report affect my ability to get credit?

Credit reporting bodies can disclose your credit reporting information to licenced credit providers such as banks, or a retailer that issues a credit card for the sale of goods and service, for a number of reasons including to assess your application for consumer credit. This information may be used by the credit provider to help work out whether you should be given credit.

Credit providers use your credit score (or credit rating) to decide whether to give you credit or lend you money. 

How can I get a copy of my credit report?

You are entitled to check your credit report for free once a year. The credit reporting body should provide you with a copy of your credit report within 10 business days.There are three main credit reporting bodies in Australia: Equifax, illion and Experian. You can request a copy of your credit report online.

What can I do if I think information on my credit report is incorrect?

If you think that something in your credit report is wrong or out of date you should dispute the listing by contacting the credit provider’s internal dispute resolution department. If you are not satisfied with their response, you may then contact the credit reporting body to dispute the listing for free. The credit reporting body will investigate and if successful, they will update your credit report to show the correct information. 

More information

MoneySmart under Managing debt

Office of the Information Commissioner under Credit reporting

Reviewed: 31 May 2021

 

Disclaimer

The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.