Credit Report Summary
A guide to understanding the information in your credit report
What is in your credit report?
Your credit report is a record of your credit history. It includes information to identify you as well as information about your credit history, including loans you’ve both applied for and taken out.
Note: This is a summary of what can be shown in your credit report. Each credit reporting body may display this information in a different format.
This section shows the personal information that is used to assist in identifying you:
- Date of birth
- Driver’s licence
- Current Address/address history
Consumer Credit liability Information
The consumer credit liability information section may show details about the credit accounts that you have open, or had open in the last 2 years, including:
- the type of credit account
- the credit limit
- the credit provider
- dates the accounts were opened and closed
Repayment History Information
Your credit report may also have information about your payment history for your credit cards and other loans (e.g. personal loans and home loans) – that is, whether you’ve made your minimum payments on time. This is very important information as it tells the new credit provider how you’ve treated those debts, which gives them an indication of how you’re likely to treat the new debt.
Your payment history is recorded on a month-by-month basis. Other lenders will see a 24-month history of your payments (after 24 months, the information is removed from your credit report).
Only banks, credit unions and other types of finance companies can report or access repayment history information.
Phone, gas and electricity providers are not able to report or access this information. This means that your credit report will not show whether you’ve paid your phone or utility bills on a month-by-month basis.
A 'grace period' of 14 days (applied to the first overdue payment) is allowed. During this time, a credit provider will not report a late payment to a credit reporting body. If the amount owing is paid during the grace period, there will be no record on your credit report that you made a late payment. However, once the grace period has passed, if you have not made the full payment of the amount owing, the credit provider may report this as a late payment to the credit reporting bodies.
- The Consumer Defaults section provides you with more information about any defaults on consumer credit that a credit provider has listed about you.
- A default is a formal notification from your credit provider to a credit reporting body that you are 60 days or more overdue in making a payment on a debt where the outstanding amount due is at least $150.
- Before listing a default, the credit provider will have written to you at least twice to say that they may list a default if you do not make a payment.
- A default stays in your credit report for 5 years. If you subsequently pay off the default, your credit report will be updated to show this – but the default will stay in the report for the 5 years.
Consumer Serious Credit Infringements
A serious credit infringement is a serious indicator of bad conduct by a debtor. It can indicate that the credit provider considers the debtor has acted fraudulently, such as lying about their financial situation when applying for the loan. Serious credit infringements stay on the credit report for 7 years.
It can also mean that the credit provider believes that the debtor has intentionally failed to comply with their credit obligations, such as moving address and failing to tell the credit provider. In this case, the credit provider has to have tried to contact the debtor for more than six months without success, including taking certain steps to establish contact with the debtor. This type of serious credit infringement can only be reported if the credit provider has first reported a default – however, it will be removed if the debtor subsequently pays the debt (although the default will remain for 5 years).
Other types of enquiries
To ensure your privacy, when you get a copy of your credit report, it will list everyone who has accessed (i.e. looked at) your credit report. The law sets out who and for what purposes your credit report can be accessed. This includes:
- You (i.e. when you get your free credit report each year from credit reporting bodies).
- People and businesses that are acting on your behalf, like a mortgage broker or financial counsellor.
- Subscription websites that provide you with your free credit score, like creditsavvy.com.au, creditsimple.com.au and getcreditscore.com.au.
- Credit providers and their agents for permissible purposes – in addition to getting your credit report when you apply for a loan, a credit provider may access it for a few, strictly limited purposes such as helping them to collect overdue payments.
Your credit report may have one or more sections listing who has ‘accessed’ the report. This information is shown to you but is not shared with a credit provider and won't impact your loan applications.