Discovering how a credit monitoring service can improve your credit and finances.
Lenders and credit providers use your credit file as a financial report card to approve or decline you for loan and credit applications, so your file's accuracy cannot be overstated. Credit monitoring services and packages that alert you to changes in your file, additions and similar features that can help you limit identity theft and ensure the accuracy of your credit file.
Find out more about credit file monitoring services, and whether they're an option you want to consider, in the guide below.
What is a credit monitoring service?
Credit monitoring services allow you to keep up with changes in your credit report. Mistakes in your credit file, such as errors with your name and address, incorrectly-listed defaults or accounts not belonging to you can ruin your credit reputation and make credit providers consider you a bad credit risk.
How do credit file monitoring services work?
If you are an Australian with active credit, you have a file with a reporting agency where all your credit history and personal information is listed. Every time you apply for credit, which includes store finance and even utilities, credit providers update your file, listing any infringements or current debts you have.
Monitoring services let you stay informed of all changes in your credit report, giving you the ability to manage how lenders perceive your creditworthiness. Here is a brief look at how each monitoring service works:
- finder's free credit report service. You can check your full credit report and credit score for free with finder and check it at any time in your finder account, we'll alert you anytime something on your report changes and will send you an updated credit score every month. Get your free credit report and score here.
- Equifax alerts. Equifax offers tiered packages with different levels of services, including monitoring services. With Equifax access, you get credit alerts so you receive an email when certain changes, including credit inquiries, happen on your file. The Equifax ID package gives you credit alerts as well as Identity Watch, which will alert you if your details may have been compromised online.
- Tasmanian subscriber facilities. Tasmanian Collection Service lets its subscribers monitor all their clients by giving access to their credit information instantly. Subscribers can electronically lodge debts for recovery by the agency or view details of debts being collected or paid. This gives the subscriber better information of what is in their credit file at all times.
- Dun & Bradstreet subscription service. This service enables your organisation monitor the ever-changing credit information of your clients so that you can minimise the risk of bad debts and defaults. Subscribers can choose to get alerts and recommendations when information on a client's credit report changes, allowing them to better assess the risk of doing business with that client.
What information is on my credit report?
- Personal information. These are details about your current address, work history, name, date of birth and your driver’s licence number.
- Default notes. Details of overdue accounts, current debts and repayments being made, missed payments and serious credit infringements.
- Credit information. This includes listings of past credit inquiries, credit cards held with different providers, any loans you've held with different lenders, utility accounts and the monthly repayment history on all current debts.
- Public record. Information held under public record including writs and judgments, bankruptcy and insolvency notes, directorship information and any debt agreements.
- Joint applicants. This section holds information about any credit accounts you jointly hold with another party.
How do I get a copy of my credit report?
There are a few different ways of getting your credit report:
Firstly, you can get your full credit report for free with finder. You'll be able to receive your credit report and score, provided by Experian, within a few minutes and it will be accessible any time through your finder account. You'll be notified whenever something on your credit report changes and you'll also receive your credit score, which is updated every month.
You're also able to order a free copy of your credit file once a year from any of the main credit reporting agencies. If you reside anywhere in Australia you can order your file from Equifax or Dun & Bradstreet, and if you reside in Tasmania you also have the option of ordering it from the Tasmanian Collection Service. You can also order your credit file if you've been rejected for credit in the previous 90 days or if you've requested a correction in your credit file.
Why is it important to check my credit file?
Monitoring your credit file is the best way to protect your credit and identity. A good credit history means you can get credit should you need to. You should proactively check your credit report regularly or subscribe to a monitoring service to be alerted to updates of your credit file. Staying up-to-date with what's on your credit file helps to:
- Protect yourself from identity theft
- Identify and order corrections for any incorrect listings
- Understand how your credit score looks and what may be affecting your credit rating
Frequently asked questions
How do monitoring services protect my identity?
Most monitoring services alert you within a day of a change occurring in your credit report, allowing you to keep track of your accounts, credit inquiries and default notes. Should fraudulent listings appear, your monitoring service would immediately alert you, ensuring that you respond in time to stop the fraud.
What information will be monitored?
Subscribing to a monitoring service means you will be notified of changes or additions to your credit report. Monitored information may include your personal details, consumer or commercial credit enquiries, court judgments or overdue accounts.