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You can get your FREE credit report each year

By Leo Rodino
In Commercial Loans, Home Loans

It’s a good idea to get a copy of your credit report annually – it’s FREE.

Alternatively, you should get a copy before you apply to borrow money or buy something on credit. This will let you know whether there’s something on your report that will make it harder for you to borrow.

There are three main businesses that hold credit reports on Australians. They’re known as “credit reporting bodies”. It’s good to get a copy of your credit report from each of those businesses; some credit providers may only use one or two of the businesses and you’ll want to make sure you see all the information that they have on you.

Checking your own credit report has no impact on your credit report or credit score when viewed by a credit provider.

Get a copy of your credit report

The credit reporting bodies are under strict obligations to keep your information secure, so you’ll be asked to provide information to identify yourself, together with copies of some ID (usually a driver’s licence or something similar). You should get the credit report within 10 days (although it quite often comes sooner).

If you’ve already made an application for credit but were refused, you also have a right to get a free copy of your credit report within 90 days of being refused. The credit provider will let you know how to get a copy of your report if this happens.

How to access a copy of your credit report

The changes to the Privacy Act 1988 (“the Act”) and the new Credit Reporting
Privacy Code (CR Code) mean new information will have started to appear on your
credit report from March 2014 onwards. These changes will happen gradually as
different credit providers consider whether to participate in comprehensive credit
reporting.

You might have credit reports with more than one credit reporting body. You can
access your reports from each body for free, once a year. You can also receive a
free credit report if an application for credit was declined in the past three months.
Below are the names and contact details of the credit reporting bodies in Australia:

Illion (formerly trading as Dun & Bradstreet)
1300 734 806 www.checkyourcredit.com.au

Experian Australia Credit Services
1300 783 684 www.experian.com.au

Equifax
13 83 32 www.mycreditfile.com.au

Compuscan
(02) 8404 4217 www.compuscan.com.au

Tasmanian Collection Service
(03) 6213 5555 www.tascol.com.au

What to check on your credit report

The law requires credit reporting bodies to make sure that information on your credit
report is accurate and up to date. However, errors can occur, for example, if
information is not passed on when required. When you get your credit report, check
the following information:

Debts or loans: are these your debts, is the amount correct on each one, and are
there any duplicates? Is the record of whether you’ve made your repayments on time
accurate?

Defaults: you may see defaults listed if any repayments were more than 60 days
late, the amount due was over $150 and you were sent written notices by your
credit provider. Check that these details are correct and that you received notices
about the defaults before they were listed. If you have paid an overdue payment in full
or the debt has been settled, check that this is reflected in the report.

If you are listed as a ‘serious credit infringement’ (that is, you are listed as a missing
debtor because the credit provider was unable to find you), check whether the lender
could have contacted you and whether you had updated your current contact details
with your lender.

You can also check that the information used to identify you is correct, such as:
» your name, gender and date of birth
» your current and two previous addresses
» your current or last known employer
» your drivers license number.

Paying to get a copy of your credit report

You’ll find that some of the credit reporting bodies also offer to sell you copies of your credit report. This is for extra services that you might be happy to pay for, such as if you want to get it more often than once a year or want to get access to some of the monitoring services offered by the credit reporting bodies.

Published by the CreditSmart.org.au website.

For any questions about loans and finance or if you want a review of your lending facilities, get in touch with me via email or phone: 0417 551 445

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