Discover your credit score and more importantly, how to improve it.
Your credit score is one of the ways that lenders can assess the risk they take when they lend money to you. Related to your credit file or your credit history, your credit score is a numerical rating that sums up your financial history and the risk you pose to a lender. The higher your score, the more likely you are to be approved for a loan. The page below shows you how you can find out your credit score, what it means, and what you can do to improve it.
"What is my credit score?"
If you’ve ever applied for credit of any kind credit reporting agencies will have a record of you doing so. Your personal information, credit inquiries, defaults and other details are listed in your credit report, and this information, both positive and negative, is used to calculate your credit score.
This score offers a reflection of your ability to borrow money and then make repayments on time. The lower your score, the less likely a lender is to allow you to borrow any money.
While no score is held in your credit file, credit reporting agencies can generate your score at any time. Lenders then use your credit score in conjunction with your credit file to determine your borrowing eligibility.
What's a good credit score?
Each credit reporting body uses a different credit score range. For example, Experian uses a credit score range of between 0 and 1,000 while Equifax has credit scores ranging between 0 and 1,200. The ranges are outlined in more details below.
|Fair / Average||550-624||510-621|
|Weak / Below average||0-549||0-509|
How is my score calculated?
A number of factors are taken into account to create your credit score. These factors include:
- Your personal information. How old are you? How long have you been employed? How long have you lived at your current address? All these details can affect your credit score.
- The credit provider. The lender you approach for finance can influence your credit score. This is because borrowing from different lenders, such as banks or store finance providers, comes with different risks.
- How much credit you apply for. The amount of money you borrow will obviously influence your ability to pay it back, so your credit score will reflect how likely you are to be able to pay back a larger loan.
- How many applications you’ve made. Having numerous applications for credit can affect your credit score. If you’ve applied and been rejected for credit before, this can also be a red flag to lenders.
- Directorship and proprietorship information. Directors’ or proprietors’ credit scores can also be influenced by the commercial sections of their credit files.
- The age of your credit file. Recently created credit reports might indicate that you currently pose a higher level of risk than people who have a credit file that was created years ago.
- Defaults and outstanding debts. Any overdue debts or defaults in your history can have a serious impact on your credit score. Similarly, if you have other outstanding debts, this will also have a negative effect.
- Court writs and default judgements. The presence of either of these on your credit report would represent an increased risk to lenders.
How can I find out my credit score?
Here are some of the different ways you can find out your credit score:
- For free with finder. You can get your Experian credit score for free with finder. Access it at any time in your finder account and receive updates every month. Get your free credit score here.
- Equifax: Credit reporting bureau Equifax does not automatically include your credit score with your credit report, so while you can access your credit report for free you will have to get your Equifax Score separately. You can only get your Equifax Score by purchasing a Equifax package, starting with the Equifax Starter pack at $79.95 per year.
- Dun and Bradstreet. The D&B Rating is a commercial credit score and combines a company's size and balance sheet information to help people evaluate a company's credibility and financial risk. It's included in a D&B Credit Report.
Is it important to know my credit score?
Your credit score can help you to better understand your credit position, but the main thing you want to check is your credit report. When reviewing your application, a lender will check your credit file to ensure you don't have too many active credit accounts, have not made too many applications recently or have not defaulted on any loans or credit cards.
Your credit score can give a quick summation of your credit situation, but does not give the detail the lender will be looking for. This is why it's important to check your credit report (which you will receive for free from finder when you check your score) and keep it in check and up to date. If you keep your credit file updated and correct your credit score will remain up-to-date and improve with your file.
Read more to help you improve your credit position
Think you understand your credit file? Find out how many myths you believed.
Why did my credit score change?
Your credit score is important and constantly changing – find out what affects it.
Do monthly repayments matter to your credit file?
Making repayments is important, but how does it affect your credit file?
High credit limits are good for a rainy day, but how do they affect your credit score?
How to improve your credit record
Discover how to put yourself in a better position before you apply for a loan or credit card.
What are credit enquiries?
Find out what an "enquiry" is on your credit file and how to manage them.
Your credit score reflects what is in your credit report, so you should focus on improving your credit report to improve your score:
- Ensure all the information on your credit file is correct. Occasionally, defaults and other things are listed incorrectly and can hurt your score, so ensure you check it regularly.
- Don't make too many credit applications. Applying with too many lenders in a short space of time can be a red flag to lenders and can damage your credit score.
- Ensure you're out of your employment probation before applying for credit. Your employment can affect your loan application and, as mentioned, a rejected application can damage your credit score. Make sure you give yourself the best chance of being approved.
- Reduce credit card limits you don't need. Your credit limits have an effect on your score, so if you can afford to reduce limits you may want to consider doing it.
- Know when you can check your file for free and do it regularly. You can check your file for free once a year and when you're rejected for credit in the previous 90 days. There are also credit monitoring services you can sign up to that you can consider.
How do I get a copy of my credit report?
Every Australian has the right to obtain a free copy of their credit report and take action to correct any wrongful information. You can check your full credit report (supplied by Experian) for free with finder. If you opt to request your free credit report directly from the credit bureau you’ll have to wait 10 days for the report to be sent to you. You can also pay a small fee to have the file sent out to you within 24 hours.
The following agencies can supply you with a copy of your credit file:
- Experian Credit Report
- Tasmanian Collection Service
You’ll need to provide your personal details and proof of identity in order to get a copy of your credit file.
Have more questions about your credit score?
What do I need to provide to get my credit score?
You need to provide your personal information such as your name and address as well as your driver's licence to verify your identity.
What is an "adverse event"?
This is a default, a court judgement or a writ, a bankruptcy or a personal insolvency.
Can you have a negative credit score?
Yes. If you are a current or discharged bankrupt, are under currently under or have been discharged from a debt agreement or a personal insolvency agreement, your credit score may be in the negative.
Do I need to pay to get a copy of my credit file?
No, you can order a copy of your file for free from credit bureaus such as Experian and Equifax but you will have to wait 10 days to get it. Alternatively, you can request your Experian credit report for free with finder.
Where can I get a copy of my credit file?
If you live in Tasmania you can order a copy of your credit file from Equifax and the Tasmanian Collection Service, and if you live in any other state you can order a free copy of your file from Equifax, Dun and Bradstreet and Experian.