How to check your credit score
Curious as to what your credit report looks like? Want to see your rating? It's actually pretty easy to find out.
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Checking your credit score is the first step to meeting your financial goals. Lenders use the score to assess the risk involved in lending to you, so if you're looking to make a big investment, it's crucial you check both your credit score and credit report as soon as possible.
But how do you actually check what your credit score is? You can check your credit score through one of the credit bureaus in Australia, or even just get it through Finder (right now!). Let's dive into how else you can check your score and why it's important to stay on top of it.
Want a better way to check your credit score?
Banks know your credit score, so why shouldn't you? The Finder app updates your score automatically each month and lets you know if it changes. Pop in your phone number below to get your download link.
What's in this guide?
- How do I find out my credit score?
- Why do I need to check my credit score?
- How often should I check my credit score?
- Does it cost anything to check my credit score?
- Do I need to check my credit report as well as my credit score?
- What to keep an eye on when you're checking your credit score and report
How do I find out my credit score?
You can also request your credit report from Equifax, Experian and Illion. You can get one for free once a year, if you have been refused credit within the past 90 days, or if your personal information has been updated.
The wait for the report could be up to 10 days and you might have to pay for your report if you want a copy faster. You also have to pay if you ask for more than one copy in a year.
Know that Equifax, Experiand and Illion each hold different information and so you might have a report with more than one of them.
Why do I need to check my credit score?
Checking your credit score helps you get an indicator of how likely you are to get credit. If you're looking to make a big purchase and need to borrow money, it's better to check your credit score sooner rather than later, so you can try to improve it if necessary. The higher the score, the more likely it is you will be approved for credit.
There are a few different tiers of score, depending on the credit reporting agency your score comes from. Read more about the different ranges and how to get a good credit score.
|Credit score range||Illion||Equifax||Experian|
How often should I check my credit score?
You can check your score as often as you like, but it will only change once a month, if that.
If you're saving for a house or are looking for a credit card or a loan, it's a good idea to keep on top of it and check it regularly. But if you're not looking to make a big purchase, you probably won't need to check it as regularly.
While you can check your score as often as you like, you can't request your credit report as frequently. You can view your report for free once every 12 months, or if you meet one of the three following criteria:
- You have had an application for credit, such as a loan or credit card, rejected in the previous 90 days.
- You have lodged a request for information to be corrected and you have been advised that the information has been corrected.
- You have not accessed your report in the previous 12 months.
If you don't meet the above criteria, you will have to pay to receive your report more than once a year.
Does it cost anything to check my credit score?
Nope! It doesn't need to cost you money to check your credit score.
It's free with a number of online providers, including Finder.
Do I need to check my credit report as well as my credit score?
It's a good idea to check both your credit score and your credit report. Your credit score is the number that helps lenders decide how much you can borrow, but your credit report contains the details of how that score was decided on.
You can check your credit score with the free Finder app. You're also entitled to one free credit report check per year from a credit bureau and you can also order a copy if you've recently been denied credit.
What to keep an eye on when you're checking your credit score and report
If you're unhappy with your credit score, your credit report holds the secret of how to improve it. The following issues can be kept in check if you keep a frequent eye on the file:
Payment history information. If you have any missed or late repayments it may lower your credit score.
Incorrect listings. Sometimes inaccurate listings can appear on your report. This might be because of fraudulent actions under name, or if your identity has been stolen. Incorrect listings can also happen if the financial actions of a family member have accidentally been included in your report. You should ask for the information to be corrected. After the changes have been made, you can request a new report for free, that shows the updated report.
Incorrect personal information. Incorrect information about your current address can be detrimental to your credit reputation. This would mean that bills and other notices from credit providers could not reach you, leading to more default listings on your credit file.
Lots of credit enquiries. Having numerous enquiries listed in a short period of time can be a bad sign. Try not to apply for credit more than once every three months.
Defaults. Debts higher than $150 that are more than 60 days late are considered a defaulted payment. Even once you pay the debt, the default will stay on your credit file for five years.
Writs and summons to court. If you have been summoned to court because of debt or a financial issue, this will be listed. This can happen if you can't settle the debt directly with a creditor.
Court judgements. Your file will also hold a record of the outcome of any court cases relating to your debts.
Bankruptcy information. This will be listed if you enter into bankruptcy and will stay on your report for seven years. Bankruptcy lasts for three years and means you have been legally declared unable to repay your debts.
If you do find mistakes on your credit report, you can remove the incorrect defaults and black listings by contacting the creditor.
Dig in deeper with our credit score guides
Find out what a credit score is and what it can do for you.Read more…
This guide explains credit score ranges from weak through to an excellent score. We cover the differences from Equifax, Experian and Illion.Read more…
Credit reporting bureaus issue credit reports and scores to consumers and lenders. Discover how they work in this guide.Read more…
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