Can you accidentally damage your credit file?

Elizabeth Barry 22 July 2016 NEWS

accidentally-damage-credit-file

Find out what actions can hurt your credit score without you even realising it.

While it's obvious that some activities will hurt your credit score – defaulting on a personal loan or declaring bankruptcy – other problems are not so obvious. You might check your credit score and find yourself in the "very good" credit score range, only to drop to a lower range for seemingly no reason whatsoever. However, there are a number of issues that can affect your credit score and your credit file that you may not be aware of.

  • Moving house

moving house

When you move house several things happen that can affect the health of your credit file. You may not forward all of your mail which could result in a default turning into a serious credit infringement. This is where a lender is unable to reach you for a period of six months or more following a defaulted payment. You may not even be aware of the default in the first place because credit providers can contact you by mail to let you know about it. Unless you pay the outstanding amount in full the infringement remains on your file for seven years. If you do move house, make sure all of your creditors and financial institutions have your new address and can contact you. You can also consider leaving a forwarding address with the people moving into your house or set up credit alerts to keep an eye on your file.

  • Enquiring about credit

Lannister pays debts

Every time you enquire about a loan, credit card or any type of credit accounts they will be listed on your credit file. If you make too many enquiries in a short space of time this can have a very negative impact on your credit file and subsequently, your credit score. Before you make enquiries with a lender find out whether they will be checking your credit file as part of the process. This is where the enquiry is listed. It's important to compare your options, but you can do so without making formal applications for credit. Only apply if you're looking to actually take on the credit account.

  • Not managing your automated payments

managing repayments

Automated payments from your debit or credit card can be convenient and help you manage your bills and credit accounts more easily. However, if your cards expire or get stolen and need replacing, it's important to remember to recreate the automated payments to avoid late or missed payments. Any payments that are late or missed can be noted on your credit file and affect your credit reputation.

  • Paying a utility bill late

homer stealing pay bills

People often misunderstand the effect utility accounts can have on their credit files. If you have a utility account that is more than 60 days overdue and you owe more than $150, it can be listed on your account as a default. The provider will need to send you two separate notices before it can legally list the default.

Curious about your credit score? Find out now for free.

Free credit score & report

Lenders know your credit score, so why shouldn't you?

Get your credit score and comprehensive report now!

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

23 Responses

  1. finder Customer Care
    JohnNovember 26, 2018Staff

    Hi Yvette,

    Thank you for leaving a question with finder.

    You may check the history of your credit score with Experian or Equifax who are credit reporting agencies that collate your credit information. They could see what has affected it and how to correct or increase your score. Apart from that, you may also visit our finder page on how to improve your score by clicking this link. Hope this helps!

    Cheers,
    Reggie

  2. Default Gravatar
    JoanneNovember 22, 2018

    Hi I do not understand why my credit is at 807 when I always pay extra on my mortgage and on time, pay all of my bills on time or before actually and always pay my credit card off long before it is due.

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnNovember 23, 2018Staff

      Hi Joanne,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      There are a lot of factors that may affect the credit score that you have. If you have received your credit file via the free credit report from finder, you may need to contact Experian who is the credit reporting agency that has the information that we reflect when you pull up your report and inquire as to what affects your score. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  3. Default Gravatar
    JaneNovember 11, 2018

    why is mine 860 when l did it a week ago it was 1000

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnNovember 12, 2018Staff

      Hi Jane,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      You may visit this link to check our article on what affects changes to your credit score. After reading though this and you are still unsure as to why your credit score changed, you may reach out to the credit reporting agencies to check on this change. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  4. Default Gravatar
    RussellOctober 24, 2018

    Why is my credit score not close to 1000 as I have never paid late or been a credit risk ?

    • finder Customer Care
      NikkiOctober 24, 2018Staff

      Hi Russel! Thanks for reaching out to us!

      Kudos on a very high credit score! I understand you want your credit score to reach 1000. On this page, you’ll see a table that says “What affects your Experian credit score” It shows how credit activities influence the increase and decrease of scores.

      Hope this was helpful. Feel free to reach out, we’re on standby.

      Cheers,
      Nikki

  5. Default Gravatar
    MollySeptember 14, 2018

    I enquired about credit cards/loans on various different sites just out of curiosity and now I’m afraid as I didn’t know this would effect my credit history. Is there a way to fix this or make it better?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynSeptember 14, 2018Staff

      Hello Molly,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Having too many credit card and loan enquiries can hurt your credit score and will stay on your file for 5 years. This is explained clearly on our guide here. To improve your credit score, you can check our tips here.

      Please also make note that you have the right to update your credit report in order to remove outdated or incorrect listings. You also have the option to contact the creditor that listed it directly. You may refer to the guide here.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  6. Default Gravatar
    CraigSeptember 13, 2018

    Why does closing a credit card account which was paid on time every month have a negative impact on my credit score?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynSeptember 13, 2018Staff

      Hello Craig,

      Thank you for your comment.

      When you applied to a credit card, this information will reflect on your report. So prior to closing a credit card account, you may need to consider the possible effect on your credit score. Just because you cancel a credit card doesn’t mean that its payment information comes off your credit report right away.

      Depending on your total available credit, closing a credit card account with a high credit limit could hurt your credit score, particularly if you have high balances on other cards or loans. In order to make sure closing one card doesn’t impact your score, pay off balances on all other cards.

      You may refer to our guide on how to close and cancel your credit card account. I hope this helps.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  7. Default Gravatar
    JacquelineAugust 9, 2018

    My credit score has dropped approx 50 pts in the last 6 months. I don’t have credit, but occasionally will buy on finance, knowing I have the cash to pay the debt and ensure the debt is paid off normally in 3-6 months of the facility is started. All, my utilities (mobile phone, etc) are in credit and have been paid for months. what can I do to improve/increase my credit score?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynAugust 9, 2018Staff

      Hello Jacqueline,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I am sorry to hear about what happened to your credit score. So that you’ll have an idea on why you got that certain score, please request a credit report. If in case you have disputes, you may refer to our guide to repairing your credit file.

      To improve your credit score, you can follow the tips below. Some may apply to you, some may not.
      – Redirect your bills when moving
      – Pay your bills on time
      – Consolidate your debt
      – Check your credit report regularly
      – Do your credit homework

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  8. Default Gravatar
    MaiaAugust 4, 2018

    Does applying for buy now pay later services like Afterpay and ZipPay affect a persons credit rating?

    • Default Gravatar
      JoelAugust 4, 2018

      Hi Maia,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      Afterpay don’t do a credit check before you apply and it won’t affect your credit history. However, in the fine print is states they reserve the right to perform credit checks, and to report negative activity on your account to credit rating agencies. For Zippay, they perform credit checks. It depends on the pay later services that you will use actually. Some perform a credit check and some don’t. We have a guide about this if you click HERE. Hope it helps!

      Cheers,
      Joel

  9. Default Gravatar
    MartinJuly 4, 2018

    I just checked my credit report it say,s 67 ‘weak, because of infringements, so I check them out,, one for telecommunications, I have no idea or recollection of that acc,, & the same with the other two accounts as well… but I did notice two accounts have the same account number, same amount of money owed but two different companies. I would like to receive a detailed credit report so I can improve my credit score..

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaJuly 11, 2018Staff

      Hi Martin,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      I understand you want to improve your credit score and get a detailed credit report. In that case, please go here to obtain a credit report and here for a credit score.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  10. Default Gravatar
    RenayMay 25, 2018

    I got an email stating ‘Your repayment habits were reflected in your credit score when you received it. Stay on top of your repayments and be mindful of the small mistakes that can affect your credit score that you may not be aware of yet’. Am I able to get specific details of which repayments? All bills other than credit card payments are auto BPay fortnightly and most accounts are in credit.

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynMay 26, 2018Staff

      Hello Renay,

      Thank you for your comment.

      You can get a detailed report of your credit history which includes the credit cards you applied, your repayments and some other factors affecting your credit score. You can request for your free credit report here. It may take up to 10 days to receive this. I hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

Ask a question
Go to site