Your Credit Report is one of your most valuable assets as it represents your credit reputation, make sure you manage it well. It is your responsibility to ensure your credit history is accurate and up-to-date and correctly recorded in your credit file. Your credit file is continuously updated by credit providers when you apply for credit. Your file is used by potential lenders to determine if you are credit worthy. Manage your credit reputation: By being informed you can more proactively manage your credit bureau file.
Your credit report contains your personal details relating to your credit worthiness hence, it is important to guard your information by monitoring changes on your credit file at least once a year. You can request a free copy from Veda of your credit report every 12 months so that you may detect and prevent identity theft which is a growing industry within the unscrupulous world.
Individuals can (for a fee) monitor their credit file to check for any fraudulent behaviour by signing up to ”My Veda Alert”. My Veda Alert sends you an email when specific changes are made to your credit file. This service attracts a fee for a 12 month subscription.
When you subscribe to My Veda Alert, you will be notified by email within 24 hours if any of the following is added or changed on your credit file:
• Employment details
• Consumer credit enquiries
• Details of overdue consumer credit accounts
• Commercial credit enquiries
• Details of overdue commercial credit accounts
• Court judgement
• Writs and summons
• Directorship information
• Information that you have a current credit relationship with a credit provider
The main two credit reporting agencies in Australia are:
• Veda credit bureau
• Dun and Bradstreet
The agencies collect your personal details from financial services providers when you apply for:
• A home loan
• Personal loan
• Credit card
• Store card
• Telephone account
The process of collecting information
When you apply for a home loan you must always complete a loan application form. You must also sign the Privacy Consent & Disclosure statement contained in the application. Once signed you authorize the lender to view your credit record and share your financial details with a credit reporting agency under the provision of The Privacy Act 1988 (Act).
This process helps the lender assess your credit worthiness. Late payments and other defaults listed on your credit record will affect the lender’s decision making process. What information is on your credit report? The following details are contained in your record:
• Personal details – Name, current and past addresses, employment history (including your current employer), your date of birth and driver’s licence number
• Credit applications – Name of lender applied to, type of loan, amount of loan
• Credit defaults – All your payments that are 60 days or more overdue
The credit listing on your record are kept for a maximum period of 5 years.
You have a right under The Privacy Act 1988 (Act) to view your credit record by making a written request to the credit reporting agency.
Understanding the new credit reporting system
Comprehensive credit reporting commenced on 12 March 2014 under changes to the Privacy Act 1988 and is the most significant change to Australia’s credit reporting system in over 25 years. Comprehensive credit reporting changes the level of credit information that can be collected by credit bureaus and used by credit providers when making a lending decision.
Previously personal credit files could only hold ‘negative’ information like credit enquiries (applications) and defaults. Under comprehensive credit reporting a person’s credit history will include ‘positive’ credit information such as if you make your credit card and loan repayments on time. The downside is, if you don’t make your repayments on time, this too can be held on your credit report.