Many Australians are not even aware there is a credit report that exists with their name on it, that they are able to access for free to reveal what it has to say. In fact, 86 per cent of Australians have never accessed their report. However, a bad credit report can have a significant impact on your ability to get credit cards, personal loans and a mortgage, so it’s a good idea to get a sense of how these reports work.
- In Australia, we have a negative reporting system, which means only events or application information are recorded on credit files. This is different to other countries, including the US and UK where positive information, such as paying bills on time, are recorded and can be used as personal collateral when applying for loans.
- All items remain on your report for five years, so if you have negative items recorded, it might be a case of sitting it out before you are able to make a loan.
- You can access your report through a number of websites:
, which is free, if you are ok to wait 10 days, or you can pay $41.95 via an online form
and recieve it within one working day.
Dun & Bradstreet
, free if you're willing to wait 10 days or costs, $30 if you would like an expedited report taking up to one working day .
- If there is something recorded on your file that you disagree with, then you should collect the evidence to prove why the information on your file is incorrect and contact Dun & Bradstreet, who will investigate your issue. If you don’t agree with their outcome, you can take it up with the Privacy Commissioner.
- Because application information is recorded on your credit file, it’s not a good idea to be applying for successions of credit cards, as every application (and denial) will be recorded on your file and might jeopardise your ability to get a mortgage down the track.
If you have negative items on your report and don’t want to wait until they clear, it is worth consulting financial professionals as they may be able to assist you in finding other ways to arrange a loan.
Keeping an eye on your records
As identity theft often involves taking over elements of your credit identity, being kept aware of any unusual changes is important. A number of services provide such an oversight, for example, for an annual fee of $51.95, My Veda Alert not only supplies a current copy of your credit file but also sends alerts whenever specific changes occur on your credit file. These include:
- Employment details
- Consumer credit enquiries
- Details of overdue consumer credit accounts
- Commercial credit enquiries
- Details of overdue commercial credit accounts
- Court judgement
- Writs and summons
- Directorship information
- Information that you have a current credit relationship with a credit provider