CHOICE says it's time to get your free credit report as new credit reporting rules come into force
12 March 2014
With the introduction of new credit reporting rules, for the first time, consumers will have just five days to make repayments on credit card bills, home loans, personal loans or car loans before black marks are recorded on their report reports.
"With the introduction of the reporting rules, it is important to get a free copy of your credit report and ensure you stay on top of your monthly repayments," says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.
"The new positive credit reporting rules have been designed to capture more information on your credit record to allow financial institutions to better assess your capacity to repay loans."
"While the new rules have the potential to benefit consumers, it's important to remember too many black marks on your credit record could mean your bank will knock back your application for a credit card or home loan."
"Up until now, paying a bit late wouldn't have affected your credit rating – only a string of missed payments that amounted to a default would go on your credit report."
"Your credit report is held by credit reporting agencies such as Veda and Dun and Bradstreet (D&B). Any evidence of tardy payments can easily be accessed by your bank, credit union or other financial institutions when assessing an application for a credit card or home loan, for example."
According to the Australian Retail Credit Association 59% of Australians don't understand how credit reporting works, let alone know about these major changes.
The key things you need to know about the new credit reporting rules are:
- You still have 60 days to pay telco, electricity and gas bills before a default goes on your file. The unpaid bill will have to be at least $150 to count as a default, up from $100.
- Repayments for credit cards, home loans, personal loans, car loans and retail 'Buy now - pay later' offers will need to be made within 5 days or you'll receive a black mark on your credit report for 2 years.
- You have the right to a free report once a year or if a credit application got knocked back
- You need to order reports from all three national credit reporting agencies and another one if you live in Tasmania
It's concerning to think many people have paid for their report unnecessarily: 43% of the respondents to a survey by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner who had accessed their credit report had paid for it.
For how to gain access to your free credit report and for more information on the new credit reporting rules please visit choice.com.au/freecreditreport.
Tips on managing the new credit reporting rules
- Arrange a direct debit for at least the minimum payment on all your credit cards and other loans so that you can avoid late payments.
- Get a copy of your free credit report each year or after you have been denied credit.
- If there is a wrong listing on your credit report, such as a default on an mobile phone payment for an address that you did not live at, contact the company.
- If the problem is not fixed, contact the relevant dispute resolution scheme such as the Telecommunication Ombudsman. For contact details of the most important ones, see choice.com.au/fixyourcreditreport.
- If you're not satisfied with the outcome, make a complaint to the Australian Information Commissioner, 1300 363 992
Get your free credit report: