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Your credit file guide

Want to be in a better position the next time you apply for credit? Find out everything you need to know about your credit file.

Your credit file contains information lenders and other providers use to assess you when you apply for certain products and services. Your credit file contains a variety of information including personal details, credit accounts you've applied for, accounts you've defaulted on and more. It's important to understand each part of your credit file and that you also know what's on there so that the next time you apply for credit you are in the best possible position to be approved. The guide below will take you through what you need to know.

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What is a credit file?

A credit file is a collection of information obtained from credit card providers, banks, mortgage providers and utility service providers. The financial information in your file is used by lenders to assess your ability to repay debt and manage loans. Lenders and service providers look at credit files to avoid the risk of giving credit to known defaulters or people with bankruptcy or insolvency issues, or, if they are offering credit to those borrowers, they may usually charge a higher rate.

What information is in my credit report?

Your credit file contains all your financial information, including repayment history, current debt, commercial and personal loans applied for and other details to help lenders assess risk when giving you credit. Here are the details contained in a credit report:

  • Personal information. Your name and date of birth, your current address, where you work, your driver’s license details and your gender are listed in your credit file.
  • Default notes. This is information on any overdue debts you might have, payments you've missed on loans and utility bills and other serious credit infringements.
  • Information that is public record. This section will contain any information that is held in the public record including bankruptcy notes, court writs and judgments, personal insolvency agreements and directorship or proprietorship information.
  • Consumer credit information. This includes credit applications you've made in the last five years (whether they were approved or not), the type of those credit accounts, such as credit card or personal loans, account open and close dates, the credit limit of the accounts, your monthly repayment history on credit accounts and details on overdue accounts.
  • Commercial credit information. Details of credit enquiries you may have made for commercial purposes and overdue commercial credit accounts are included in this section.
  • Joint applicants. If you've applied for any loans or credit cards as a joint borrower this will be listed on your report.

How long is information held on my file?

Following the introduction of comprehensive credit reporting, both positive and negative listings are recorded by credit providers. However, it is the negative listings such as bankruptcies and overdue accounts that will be listed on your file for longer and impact your ability to access credit. Use the following as a guide for how long listings will appear on your file:

Type of listingLength of time it's listed (years)Description
Payment history information2Monthly repayment history information on active credit accounts.
Credit enquiries5Applications made to utility companies, banks or lenders for services or credit products (whether approved or not).
Overdue accounts listed as a payment default5Overdue accounts of $150 or more that is 60 days or more overdue.
Writs and summons5An invitation to appear in court to settle a debt. A writ is similar to a summons but is for a higher court.
Court judgements5Once you've been through the court process the court judgement will remain on your credit file for 5 years.
Bankruptcy information5If you enter into bankruptcy it will be removed from your file two years from the date you're discharged or five years from the date you became bankrupt, whichever is later.
Overdue accounts listed as a clearout or serious credit infringement5-7Overdue accounts in default where the credit provider hasn't been able to contact you for 6 months. Can be listed for 7 years from the time they're listed but drop back to 5 years as a default listing once it's paid.

How do I get a copy of my credit report?

You can get a free copy of your credit report, provided by Experian, for free from finder. You can also check your credit score. You'll have access to your report and score whenever you want to check it in your finder account and we'll notify you when something changes on your report.

Get your free report and score here

What should I check in my credit file?

When you order your credit file you should go through the following details:

  • Personal information. Ensure all of your personal details are correct. This is to limit the chance of identity theft or being rejected for credit because of a misspelt first name.
  • Incorrect defaults. Credit reporting agencies or lenders might list a default incorrectly into your file. A default could be listed twice or you could have a default listed for an account you paid on time. If you find an incorrect default talk to the credit reporting bureau first, then if that doesn't rectify it you should contact the credit provider. A full process for dealing with incorrect listings is outlined below.

How can I deal with incorrect listings?

  1. Contact the credit reporting bureau first. It may be able to remove it or contact the credit provider on your behalf to have it removed. If not;
  2. Contact the credit provider that listed it and explain why the listing is incorrect. The credit provider should have a dispute resolution team or process in place. You can also contact the Financial Ombudsmen Service or the Credit and Investments Ombudsmen. If that doesn't rectify it;
  3. Contact the Privacy Commissioner. This should be the last stop if the provider's dispute resolution scheme fails to rectify the issue. You only have 12 months from the date you became aware of the issue to file a complaint.

Frequently asked questions

I've never applied for a loan or credit card. Do I have a credit report?

Even if you have never applied for a credit product with a bank or standalone lender you may still have a credit report. If you've had a mobile phone contract or held a utility contract in your name, this is a form of credit. You may have also had interest-free store finance which is a type of credit card and listed on your credit file.

Do I have to request information be taken off my file or is it taken off automatically?

When it's time for the listing to be removed the credit reporting agency will remove it for you. If you find that the listing has not been taken off when it should have been you can get in touch with the credit reporting agency to have it removed.

Is my credit file the same with each provider?

There are different reporting bureaus and each will have access to different sources, so your credit score may be different with each one, but your credit file should remain the same.

Can paying my bills late affect my credit file?

Yes it can. Unpaid electricity or phone bills that are overdue can be listed as defaults after 60 days, though the credit provider has to inform you of the overdue bill before adding a listing to your credit report.

If I'm refused credit does it affect my credit file?

Yes. All credit enquiries are listed on your file and any refused applications may be a red flag to lenders. Avoid making too many applications in a short space of time or you'll have a hard time being approved for credit.

Under what circumstances can you obtain a free copy of your credit file?

You can check your credit report for free whenever you like with finder. If you'd prefer to get your credit report directly from a bureau, you can get one for free every 12 months or if you've been denied credit in the last 90 days.

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72 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    DavidOctober 18, 2018

    Can I get loan for 2,000 yes or no?

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnOctober 18, 2018Staff

      Hi David,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      Though we are a comparison website that assists users on their financial decisions, you may need to click on this link to see a panel of lenders, their rates and other information for you to make a decision. Kindly review and compare your options on the table displaying the available providers. Once you have chosen a particular provider, you may then click on the “Go to site” button and you will be redirected to the provider’s website where you can proceed with the application or get in touch with their representatives for further inquiries you may have.

      Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and read through the details of the needed requirements as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision on whether it is right for you. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  2. Default Gravatar
    JeffreyOctober 13, 2018

    Why is my licence number telling me its entered WRONGLY When its RIGHT

    • finder Customer Care
      CharisseOctober 13, 2018Staff

      Hi Jeffrey,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      One of the common mistakes that users make is entering their card number instead of their license number. Kindly double check the number to make sure you are putting in the right information.

      Please note that for security reasons, users only have two incorrect attempts at verifying their ID.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

  3. Default Gravatar
    CreightonSeptember 22, 2018

    can a serious infringment be still active after 9 yrs on my credit file?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoelSeptember 22, 2018Staff

      Hi Creighton,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      A serious credit infringement can be listed on a credit report in this case if the individual has not had contact with the credit provider for six months or more despite attempts by the credit provider to contact them. Consumer serious credit infringements remain on a credit report for seven years from the date they’re listed. However, if they have been paid they revert back to a default and will remain on the report for five years. The fact that an amount has become overdue and then been paid becomes part of your credit history.

      Please send me a message if you need anything else.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  4. Default Gravatar
    April 13, 2018

    Where’s the free credit report I applied?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynApril 13, 2018Staff

      Hello Chris,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Please note that it may take up to 10 days for you to receive your free credit report.

      In addition, you’re eligible to receive your credit file if you meet the 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 file in the previous 12 months (you can view your file for free once every 12 months)

      I hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  5. Default Gravatar
    RebeccaApril 9, 2018

    I would like to know, why they still won’t approve for me.

    • finder Customer Care
      NikkiApril 9, 2018Staff

      Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks for your message and for visiting finder – the leading comparison website & general information service built to give you advice in your buying decision needs. How are you doing today?

      Sorry to hear that you are having difficulty getting approved. At this point, we don’t have any leads on why your file is not yet approved. It’s a good idea to check your credit file for incorrect information and to ensure your credit position is where you think it is. You can order a free copy once a year or if you’ve been recently refused credit. You also have the option of signing up for a credit monitoring service or buying a one-off credit report.

      You can get your credit file from any one of the three main credit report agencies; Equifax, Dun & Bradstreet or Experian. If you need your file sent urgently you will need to pay a fee, otherwise, you can have it delivered to you for free within ten working days.

      When you order your credit file you should go through the following details:

      1. Personal information. Ensure all of your personal details are correct. This is to limit the chance of identity theft or being rejected for credit because of a misspelled first name.
      2. Incorrect defaults. Credit reporting agencies or lenders might list a default incorrectly into your file. A default could be listed twice or you could have a default listed for an account you paid on time. If you find an incorrect default talk to the credit reporting bureau first, then if that doesn’t rectify it you should contact the credit provider. A full process for dealing with incorrect listings is outlined on this page.

      Please note that we’re a product comparison website and we hold no affiliation with any company we feature on our site. We provide general information on products to assist you in your buying decision process hence we cannot recommend product/service that is rightfully fit for you.

      Feel free to message us again should you have further questions.

      Best regards,

      Nikki

  6. Default Gravatar
    VirginiaMarch 14, 2018

    Why is my credit scores so low.

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynMarch 16, 2018Staff

      Hi Virginia,

      Thank you for your comment.

      You can request for a free credit report to know why you got a certain score. Please note that it may take up to 10 days for you to receive your credit report.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  7. Default Gravatar
    JulieMarch 1, 2018

    Do I need to check my credit file thru my maiden name or married name?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynMarch 3, 2018Staff

      Hi Julie,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Your credit report will list all of the name variations reported to Equifax by your creditors, so your maiden name and married name may appear. You can use the name that’s exactly showing on your driver’s license.

      Equifax uses all of the identifying information reported to it to compile a complete credit report. Some accounts from lenders may be reported in your current married name, while others still may be associated with your maiden name.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  8. Default Gravatar
    MichaelFebruary 13, 2018

    I would like to get a credit card with $1000 limit how can I get one with my credit score.

    • finder Customer Care
      JoelFebruary 23, 2018Staff

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for visiting finder.

      We have a comparison of low income credit cards here and most of their minimum credit limit is around $1000. Just to mention though that your credit limit will determined by the bank based on their assessment of your financial position.

      Meantime, if you can specify if you have good or excellent credit score, I can help you narrow down your option to what requirement suits you best. If you like to have an idea about your credit score, please go here to get it for free.

      You can also check out this guide in choosing a responsible credit limit for your card. If you need anything else, please send us a message.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  9. Default Gravatar
    ClaireJanuary 18, 2018

    I need to know if my bankruptcy has been removed. It was in 2005.

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynJanuary 19, 2018Staff

      Hi Claire,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Bankruptcy stays in your credit file after 5 years from the date you officially became bankrupt, or 2 years from the date your bankruptcy was discharged – whichever is later.

      You can obtain a free copy of your credit report here that contains all your financial information that is held in the public record including bankruptcy notes.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  10. Default Gravatar
    TroyDecember 11, 2017

    My credit savvy report card has my score as very good at 712 with no negative listings, however, I’ve been rejected 3 times trying to obtain a credit card by institutions recently meeting their criteria, even exceeding! Why could that be?!

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynDecember 12, 2017Staff

      Hi Troy,

      Thank you for your comment.

      There could be many factors affecting your approval for credit card applications. One reason could be applying for too many credit cards and loans within a short period of time. Minimize your credit inquiries to improve your chances at getting your next credit card application approved.

      Kindly refer to our page to know the possible reasons for credit card rejection and also to get tips on how your application be approved.

      I hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

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