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.

Credit score in the Finder app

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.

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.

You can check your credit report through Finder.

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 rangeIllionEquifaxExperian
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Excellent
800–1,000833–1,200800–1,000
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Very good
700–799726–832700–799
⭐⭐⭐
Average
500–699622–725625–699
⭐⭐
Fair
300–499510–621550–624

Low
0–2990–5090–549

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.

Find out how to improve your credit score with this handy guide

Picture: GettyImages

Dig in deeper with our credit score guides

More guides on Finder

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8 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    SydneyNovember 14, 2018

    What’s my credit score is

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnNovember 14, 2018Staff

      Hi Sydney,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      We are on the right page for you to be able to obtain your free credit report from finder. All you need to start is to click on the “Check now” button. You will need to enter your information so that we could verify the data from Experian where your report comes from. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

    Default Gravatar
    JackMay 26, 2017

    I don’t have a licence for verification.

      Default Gravatar
      LiezlMay 26, 2017

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your question. I’m sorry to hear about that.

      As of this time, we can only accept an Australian driver’s license and an Australian passport for identity verification. But do not worry, what you can do instead is go directly to Experian’s website and order your free credit score either by email or by post.

      Once you’ve submitted your order, you’ll receive your free Experian Credit Report within 10 working days. If you want to order it by email, you will need to provide the required documents and then simply click on the “Order your free report now” button to get started. 

      It’s nice to note as well that they can accept other forms of IDs aside from AU driver’s license and passport. The page also shows a list of all other forms of ID you can submit to them for identity verification.

      To order your credit score by post, you will also need to provide the specific documents they require and then send them to the address listed on Experian’s website.

      Kindly note that your credit file is a detailed record of your borrowing history and it’s different from your credit score which is a numerical representation of your risk as a borrower.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      Liezl

    Default Gravatar
    HansMay 17, 2017

    Hi,
    Why is the credit score Finder provides me different from the credit score I obtained directly from Equifax?
    Thanks,
    Hans

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayMay 17, 2017Staff

      Hi Hans,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Credit ratings are regularly updated, so there could be something that may have caused your score to change by the time you’ve got your score from Equifax and through our page (which is also coming from Equifax).

      Furthermore, whilst knowing your credit score could be useful, especially if you are accessing credit, please note though that it’s just merely an indicator of whether you’ll get the credit that you want. So in the actual application, other factors like your total income, present employment and current assets will also be taken into account when lenders consider your application.

      Cheers,
      May

    Default Gravatar
    MingJanuary 11, 2017

    Hi, you talk about credit score but from what i can gather from reading the articles is that you are referring to a Veda Score, D&B, credit sense score etc. From my understanding in essence these scores refer to credit enquiries but only forms part of a persons “credit score”. Correct me if I’m wrong but these “credit scores” do not consider ones asset position, DSR, savings, income, occupation etc These “score” weights accompanied credit check score forms the framework for a persons “credit score”. I think the term “credit score” is used incorrectly.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayJanuary 12, 2017Staff

      Hi Ming,

      Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to give us your feedback.

      Generally, creditors use your credit history to determine whether you are eligible for credit. By making an “enquiry” on your file, they will also generate your “credit score.” Basically, your credit score is needed because it is an indicator that lenders use and apply to their own lending criteria to determine whether you are eligible to borrow from them. However, aside from your score, they will also take into account other factors like present employment, total income and current assets when they consider your application. With that, there are lenders who are still open to lend borrowers with bad credit.

      Cheers,
      May

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