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What is a Credit Report?

Posted by Tamara McDowell on March 18, 2010

A credit report is simply your credit history. It is a record of the credit applications you have applied for; any credit defaults against you; any serious credit infringements and financial information, which are held on the public record.

It is important to maintain a positive credit report. Every time you apply for credit an enquiry is recorded on your credit report. When you apply for any credit such as a loan or a credit card the credit provider is likely to review your credit report. If you have defaults listed or any serious infringements, it is these negative listings that may determine whether your credit application is approved or rejected.

Your credit report will influence credit providers. If used correctly, credit can be a useful tool for people as it allows them to borrow money and pay it back at an agreed rate. If your credit is serviced and managed correctly then your credit report will always be good.

Ever applied for a loan, a credit card or a telephone account? If you have, a credit reporting agency probably holds a credit report on you.
When you apply for a loan the credit provider can take your credit history into account when deciding whether to give you a loan

What’s on your credit report?

Your credit report contains information about you and your credit history, including:

  • personal details – name, date of birth, current and past addresses, employment and driver’s licence number
  • credit applications credit provider, amount of credit and type of credit (for example interest free loan, home loan, credit card)
  • credit defaults – overdue payments of 60 days or more when you have been sent a letter notifying you of the default
  • credit defaults that have been paid
  • serious credit infringements or ‘clearout’ listings – this is when the credit provider has unsuccessfully tried to contact you in writing and has reported you as a missing debtor.
  • information on the public record for example judgment debts or bankruptcy orders

Your file cannot include information identifying your political, social or religious beliefs or affiliations; criminal record; medical record; ethnicity; or sexual preferences.

Your privacy, credit providers and credit reporting agencies

Common credit providers are banks, building societies and credit unions. However credit providers also include:

  • businesses that issue store credit cards, eg department stores.
  • businesses that provide a good or service and allow payment to be deferred, for example, telephone, gas and electricity companies, video hire shops, furniture stores and car hire businesses.
  • Credit reporting agencies store your credit report. These agencies can only show your credit report to credit providers and only for specified purposes including assessing your application or collecting overdue payments.

The Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner regulates credit reporting and deals with credit reporting disputes. The Privacy Act protects consumers on credit reporting issues including:

  • your right to access and correct information on your credit report; and
  • the handling of credit reports by credit providers and credit reporting agencies.

Get a copy of your Credit Report

You can get a copy of your credit report from these credit reporting agencies: Veda Advantage (previously known as Baycorp Advantage), Dun and Bradstreet, and Tasmanian Collection Service.

ASIC cannot provide you with a copy of your credit report, but you can contact their Infoline for more help about how to get a copy.
A credit reporting agency must take all reasonable steps to ensure you can access your report. You should be able to get a copy of your credit report for free by applying in writing to the credit reporting agency.

Veda Advantage or Dun and Bradstreet may take up to 10 days to send your report from the day they receive your application, or sooner if you pay a fee. Tasmanian Collection Service will provide you with a free copy of your report if your application relates to a refusal of credit or the management of your credit arrangements. Otherwise they charge a small fee.

Watch out for credit reporting scams

  • Don’t search for credit reporting agencies over the internet, you may end up finding fake sites offering ‘free credit reports’ that are really out to scam you. If you are contacting a credit reporting agency online, use your ‘favourites’ or type its URL in the address bar of your web browser.
  • If a business offers you a free credit report, they shouldn’t need your credit card details. Don’t provide these unless you understand why the agency is asking for them.
  • Never follow an email link offering a free credit report, or respond to an unsolicited email offering you a free credit report – delete it. This is likely to be a scam, trying to trick you into giving out your personal information.

 

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One Response to “What is a Credit Report?”

  1. credit repair…

    Credit where credit is due – I could not have put it better myself….

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