Credit checks are completed by most banks, credit unions and other lenders in Australia using one of 4 main credit report agencies. They are:
- Equifax (formerly known as Veda or My Credit File)
- Illion (formerly known as Dunn & Bradstreet)
- Tasmanian Collection Service
Each credit report agency may collect data about your credit data. If you allow them to do so, these agencies and will provide this data to a lender or broker upon request.
The data contained in these files can vary. Therefore, it is important for you to be aware of who can access and make changes to your file.
As a result, you have the right to dispute data on your credit report. Each agency will have a policy on how you can dispute certain data. They will also have a process about how you can clean up your credit report.
You should be very careful if you are trying to repair your credit file.
ASIC, a government regulator, publishes a warning about credit repair on their website.
What is in a credit report?
Credit reports contain data such as:
- your personal details
- whether there were any joint applicants
- information about any credit cards you hold
- any arrears on existing or previous loans
- whether you have brought any arrears up to date
- defaults, judgements and overdue payments
- credit applications you have made
- personal insolvency agreements (i.e. Part IX or X)
- any existing loans or liabilities you have
- repayment history on any loan accounts
- commercial credit or trade accounts
- who has requested a copy of your report
How long does information stay on my report?
The time information is held on your report varies based on the type of data.
For example, credit enquiries or defaults listed on your report will stay on your report for 5 years. Clearouts and bankruptcies are usually listed for 7 years. Therefore, it’s really important to protect your credit file. You should also be careful about who you allow access to your report.
A simple enquiry for a short term loan can have long lasting consequences. As a result, information contained on your credit file may impact your ability to access cheap credit in the future.