Our Financial Counselling is a non-judgmental, independent, confidential and free service provided to inform, support and advocate for students experiencing financial difficulty. Contact us to arrange a free appointment.
A credit report contains information about a person’s credit history. The information is collected from credit providers, courts and other organisations by credit reporting bodies. The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) sets out what information can be put on a credit report. The Privacy (Credit Reporting) Code 2014 (v 2.1) and the Privacy Regulation 2013 set out the ways this information can be listed on your credit report. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has responsibility for making sure these laws are followed.
A credit report is held by a credit reporting agency. It can be accessed by credit providers with a person's consent to find out about a person’s credit history. It is used by credit providers to assess whether they should give people a loan or provide them with a service. A credit report that is provided to credit providers will contain a ‘credit score’.
Credit scores are calculated by an algorithm that uses information from your credit report such as the amount of money you’ve borrowed, the number of credit applications you’ve made and whether you pay on time. Depending on the credit reporting agency, your score will be between zero and either 1,000 or 1,200. A higher score means the lender will consider you less risky. This could mean getting a better deal and saving money and a lower score may affect your ability to get a loan or credit. Every credit reporting agency uses different algorithms, so it’s not always clear how credit scores are calculated.
- Defaults → 5 years from the date the credit reporting body collects the information Payment information → 5 years from the date the credit reporting body collects the default information
- New arrangement information → 2 years from the date of the default listing the arrangement relates to
- Serious credit infringements → 7 years from the date the credit reporting body collects the information
- Consumer credit liability information → 2 years from the date of termination of the consumer credit
- Repayment history information → 2 years from the date the payment was due
- Court judgments → 5 years from the date of judgment
- Part IX Debt agreements → 5 years from the date of the debt agreement, or 2 years from the date the debt agreement is terminated or declared void, or when the debt agreement is completed – whichever is the longer.
- Bankruptcy → 5 years from the date of the bankruptcy or 2 years from the date the bankruptcy ends, whichever is the longer.
You have a right to get a copy of your credit report for free every 3 months. It's worth getting a copy at least once a year. Usually, you can access your report online within a day or two. Or you could have to wait up to 10 days to get your report by email or mail.
Contact these credit reporting agencies for your free credit report:
Experian 1300 783 684
illion 132 333
Equifax 138 332
Since different agencies can hold different information, you may have a credit report with more than one agency. Some credit reporting agencies may provide your credit score for free — check with them directly.
BEWARE – when you provide them with your current contact details, that information will be updated and debt collectors or creditors may contact you.
Alternatively, you can get your credit score for free from an online credit score provider, such as Credit Simple, Finder or Canstar (and many more). This usually only takes a few minutes.
Avoid any provider that asks you to pay or give them your credit card details.
Find out how to correct information on your credit report on the National Debt Helpline website.
Financial Counsellors help people who are experiencing financial difficulty. They are skilled professionals who will guide you through your options and help you plan your way out of debt. They may be able to assist you by:
They can provide information and advice about:
It’s then up to you to make the decisions about how to manage your situation with the advice you’ve been given.