If you've ever applied for a loan or credit card or signed up for a mobile phone plan or utility contract, you should have a credit score and report. When you apply for credit, this is what lenders use to judge your ability to manage loans and repay them on time. By checking your credit report and credit score, you can keep an eye on your own credit position and see how likely it is that you may be approved for your next loan or credit card.
Finder lets you check your credit report and credit score for free and then track it in your account. To do this, click on the button below. This guide will then take you through what you need to know about your credit file, including tips to improve it.
If you want to request a copy of your credit report and score, you have a few options:
For free with finder. You can request your free credit report and score through Finder. The credit score is provided by Experian and contains a detailed report of your financial history. You can check back at any time and you'll also receive notifications whenever anything changes on your report, so you can stay on top of your finances.
For free with a credit bureau. You can order your credit file once a year for free from one of the credit bureaus (including Equifax, Experian and Dun & Bradstreet or Tasmanian Collection Service if you live in Tasmania). The free report is delivered to you within 10 days. You can also order it if you've been rejected for credit in the previous 90 days.
By paying a fee. Credit reporting bodies such as Equifax, Experian Tasmanian Collection Service and Dun and Bradstreet also offer credit monitoring services and other packages that can have your credit file and credit score delivered to you more regularly. For Equifax, the packages start at $79.95.
What is my credit score?
Your credit score is generated by the credit bureau that holds your credit file and it gives lenders an additional way to understand your credit behaviour. Your Experian Score, from credit reporting bureau Experian, is a number between 0 and 1,000. The higher your number is, the better your credit position is. Learn more about your credit score here.
What's on my credit report?
Your credit report contains information about your credit history, including any loan applications you've made, personal information and your repayment details. Here's a quick breakdown of the information you'll find on there:
Personal information such as your name, address, where you work, your gender and your driver's licence details.
Details of your consumer credit accounts. This could include a credit card, personal loan, home loan or phone plan. It also includes any applications made in the last five years, the type of accounts they were, the date those accounts were opened and closed, their credit limits, monthly repayment histories and any details of overdue accounts.
Information regarding commercial credit, which includes credit enquiries and overdue credit accounts.
If you're listed on a loan as a joint applicant, this will be on your credit file.
Credit reporting bureaus access different sources of information, so not all credit reports will be the same. If there is information missing in your report or information that is incorrect, you can contact either the bureau or the credit provider which is responsible to get your report up to date.
Why is it important to check my credit report?
Limits risk of identity theft. People with your personal or financial information can apply for loans or credit cards in your name and damage your credit. If you check your credit file regularly, you can check for any irregularities and report these to your credit bureau, the financial service provider or the police as soon as possible.
Fix incorrect negative listings. Sometimes, financial providers mistakenly put incorrect listings on credit reports. This may be an entire listing that is not yours, such as a default, or a listing that appears twice. By checking your file regularly you have the chance to fix it. You can see our guide to removing black marks for tips if you find any incorrect listings on your report.
Improve your score. Checking your credit report and score gives you a greater understanding of your finances and what you can to do improve them. For example, you may realise you can consolidate multiple debts into one card with a 0% balance transfer offer or reduce your credit limit on one of your accounts to improve your score. You can either fix your credit report yourself or contact a credit repair company if you'd like professional help removing any incorrect negative listings.
Have more questions about checking your credit?
Credit enquiries are listed on your credit file, so even if you don't accept a loan that you are approved for it will be listed on your credit file.
Making too many loan applications in a short space of time can look bad on your credit file and lower your credit score. This is because you're seen as a higher risk to lenders and it can make it more difficult to access credit.
Each credit bureau has their own credit score, for example, Experian has the Experian Score, so your score will not be the same with each one.
If you check your credit report with finder you can access it at any time in your finder dashboard. It will be updated as new information becomes available.
If you want to order your credit report directly from the bureau, you can order a free copy of your credit file once a year or up to 90 days after you have a credit application rejected. You can also pay to receive your credit file multiple times a year from credit bureaus or purchase a package or credit monitoring service to keep an eye on your credit file.
You will need to provide your personal information and identification documents, such as your driver's licence, to prove your identity.
Elizabeth Barry is Finder's global fintech editor. She has written about finance for over five years and has been featured in a range of publications and media including Seven News, the ABC, Mamamia, Dynamic Business and Financy. Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Communications and a Master of Creative Writing from the University of Technology Sydney. In 2017, she received the Highly Commended award for Best New Journalist at the IT Journalism Awards. Elizabeth has found writing about innovations in financial services to be her passion (which has surprised no one more than herself).
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