How to check your credit rating

If you wish to apply for a credit or a loan, lenders will use your credit report to help assess your ability to pay it back. If you’re applying for a loan, there may be nothing worse than being rejected because of errors in your credit report. Luckily checking for these mistakes made by your bank or credit reporting agencies is a free and straightforward process.

Your credit report includes information such as:

  • personal details
  • joint applicants
  • credit cards
  • arrears brought up to date
  • defaults and other credit infringements
  • credit applications
  • debt agreements
  • credit liability information
  • repayment history 
  • commercial credit applications
  • report requests.

The sooner an error is detected the easier it is to correct. The Conversation suggests checking your credit report yearly and recommends these steps to make the process simple.

Step 1. Get a copy of your credit report
You can get a free copy of your credit report through agencies such as Experian, Equifax and illion, and Tasmanians may use Tasmanian Collection Service.

If you’re on a tight schedule you can pay around $30 to $50 to have your report arrive within two days, otherwise it will arrive in around 10 days.

Step 2. Check your report
Check to make sure your personal information is correct. Look at the basic information such as your name, address, driver’s licence and birth date.

Look at your payment history to determine if any payments were missed on due dates.

Now check to make sure that the details of your credit history are current. This will include loans, applications and credit infringements such as payments more than 60 days overdue.

Check to make sure that any serious records such as bankruptcies, court judgements or debt agreements are correct.

Note that credit infringements may stay on your report for between five and seven years.

Step 3. If something is wrong …
Say you’ve found that some of the details on your report are incorrect, what do you do next? You can contact the credit reporting agency and they should be able to change small details for you free of charge. However, to address larger errors in the report, you may have to contact your bank directly, although some credit reporting agencies may also do this for you.

Contact your credit provider and explain why the information is wrong. If they refuse to fix the mistake on your report, reach out to an independent dispute resolution scheme, such as the Australian Financial Complaints Authority, who may be able to help you with your claim.

If you are still unable to amend the errors in your report and they are less than a year old, contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

Do you know your credit rating?   

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Written by Liv Gardiner

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