Your credit history is an important element of consideration for your home loan approval.
It can indicate to your potential lender your previous history with credit commitments, including any defaults, missed repayments or history of bankruptcy.
Amendments to privacy laws effective from 12 March 2014 mean that more detail about your credit situation may be disclosed by licensed credit providers and included in your credit report.
This helps lenders better assess the likelihood of you repaying their loan by considering your past credit behaviour, and alerts them of your current commitments.
In some cases, a lender may have to decline your loan application based on the information in your credit report.
What may be included in a credit report?
your personal details (name, date of birth, address, current employer)
driver’s licence number
any applications or enquiries you’ve made for credit
default information (unpaid credit)
court judgements relating to credit
repayment history information for the previous two years e.g. whether repayments have been paid on time
current credit commitments like the type of credit, your current credit limit and when you opened/closed the account.
Repayment history information relating to the payment of utilities such as gas, electricity and water, or your mobile phone or internet bill will not be included in your credit report as repayment history information can only be supplied and accessed by credit providers that hold an Australian Credit Licence.
Credit reports are compiled by credit reporting bodies and they do so at your request or at the request of a lender with whom you have enquired.
To find out more about the changes to the Privacy Act and how credit reporting works, visit creditsmart.org.au.
Creditsmart also has information about how you can access your free credit report and a list of the various credit reporting agencies.
Need more detail?
There are also frequently asked questions available from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner covering:
how your personal information should be handled
the privacy reform changes
the Australian Privacy Principles
how to handle disputes.
If you believe there is an incorrect listing on your credit report, contact the credit provider or the credit provider’s external dispute resolution scheme for correction.
Also, be wary of credit repair companies that claim to be able to remove default listings from credit reports, for a fee.
In most cases, default listings are not able to be removed from a credit report unless it can be established that an entry has been made in error.
If you believe an incorrect entry has been made on your credit report contact the credit provider or the credit provider’s external dispute resolution scheme.