man-checking-credit-file

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.

Free credit score & report

Lenders know your credit score, so why shouldn't you?

Get your credit score and comprehensive report now!

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.

If you want to stay on top of the listings on your credit report, you'll receive notifications every time something changes on your file thanks to the credit monitoring service offered when you get your credit report and score through Finder.

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 listingNumber of years it's listedDescription
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

Picture: Shutterstock

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

92 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    KarenApril 1, 2019

    I have never applied for a loan, own my home freehold and have never defaulted on a bill. Credit card is paid off each month. Why is my credit rating only ‘good’ rather than excellent?

    • finder Customer Care
      MaiApril 2, 2019Staff

      Hi Karen,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      I’m afraid I may not be able to exactly determine why your credit score rating is good despite the good attributes you mentioned above as there are several factors that may affect it. You can check our article here and look for the part that says “How is my credit score calculated” and you may spot from there what could be the reason.

      If you noticed that there’s an error, take the necessary steps to correct the mistake on your credit report.

      Hope this helps.

      Kind Regards,
      Mai

  2. Default Gravatar
    FahdFebruary 7, 2019

    Hi I received a mark on one of my credit cards just for mistakenly delaying a payment for 7 days after the payment was due. How badly did this impact my credit score? Is there any way to remove this record because I did not miss the payment? Thanks.

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniFebruary 11, 2019Staff

      Hi Fahd,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      If you just had ONE missed payment, it will not impact your credit score that much. Please note that your credit report retains repayment history information from the past two years. If you believe that this missed repayment is not your fault, kindly contact your credit card issuer directly to discuss this matter. You may also check out this page to learn more on removing black marks from your credit report.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  3. Default Gravatar
    AprilFebruary 4, 2019

    How accurate is my credit score and report on finder? Can I use these results to go by when l apply for credit?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynFebruary 6, 2019Staff

      Hi April,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Your credit score and your credit report are provided by Experian, which means that they are accurate. When you apply for a credit card, the issuer will check your credit score so they can determine how risky you are as a borrower or if you are a good payer.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  4. Default Gravatar
    MuziJanuary 2, 2019

    How do I get my credit score and credit report? I don’t have an Australian driving license or passport but I do have Medicare card and Overseas driving license.

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynJanuary 3, 2019Staff

      Hello Muzi,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Unfortunately, you can’t access your credit score without an Australian driver’s license. You can access your free credit report here even without a driver’s license. Overseas driver’s license is also not accepted.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  5. Default Gravatar
    GeraldDecember 5, 2018

    How do I get my credit score and credit report?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynDecember 11, 2018Staff

      Hello Gerald,

      Thank you for your comment.

      A driver’s licence is needed to access your credit score through finder. Your credit report can be accessed here.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  6. Default Gravatar
    GeorgeNovember 27, 2018

    Tried to get my credit rating, put in my licence number, but didn’t accept.

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniNovember 27, 2018Staff

      Hi George,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      I’m sorry for this inconvenience. ID verification is done using the Australian government’s Document Verification Service to ensure security and that only you can access your your report.

      Our users only have 2 incorrect attempts at verifying ID for security reasons and you will need to ensure the info you are entering is as it appears on your Drivers license.

      If in case this is unsuccessful, you can try to access your credit score via Experian’s page directly.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  7. Default Gravatar
    MaureenNovember 22, 2018

    Credit score please?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynDecember 1, 2018Staff

      Hello Maureen,

      Thank you for your comment.

      You can access your free credit score on this page. Please be advised that we use your driver’s licence to verify your identity and access your score. If you don’t have a driver’s licence, you can request your credit report from Experian directly.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  8. Default Gravatar
    DavidNovember 12, 2018

    Credit score and credit file link

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnNovember 13, 2018Staff

      Hi David,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      You may click on this link to get a copy of your free credit score from finder. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  9. Default Gravatar
    ClintNovember 4, 2018

    There’s something on my file saying something about $5001 credit card

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnNovember 6, 2018Staff

      Hi clintbarnes45,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      You would need to call the creditor who is reporting that entry to clarify what the report is all about. This is also the way for you to initially dispute the report. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  10. Default Gravatar
    SharonOctober 26, 2018

    Why does my info get rejected saying my licence number is incorrect…it is correct…it is the licence number and NOT the card numer. All info correct..yet rejected twice.

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnOctober 27, 2018Staff

      Hi Sharon,

      Thank you for leaving a comment.

      USERS ONLY HAVE TWO INCORRECT ATTEMPTS AT VERIFYING THEIR ID. This is for security reasons.

      Users need to ensure the info they are entering is as it appears on their Drivers license.

      Common mistakes when requesting your credit report:

      Users entering their card number and not their license number
      Users not entering their full name as it is on their license (e.g. ‘Sam’ instead of ‘Samantha’)

      This is where a user needs to enter their information, so finder can verify your ID and retrieve your score from Experian (one of Australia’s credit reporting bureaus). Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

Ask a question
Go to site