How important is your credit file when applying for a home loan

How Important Is My Credit History When I Want To Apply For A Home Loan?

For many Australians, credit files are a mystery. Marc Terrano looks at how important it is to get to know your credit file before applying for your first home loan.

The first hurdle on the track to owning your first home is getting approved for finance. To get approved, your lender will look at your credit history. This is a record of your financial history and is used by lenders to assign you a ‘credit rating’. A good credit rating can make a big difference to your loan application, so read on to find out how it could affect you.

What is my credit history made up of?

Your credit history contains a lot of information about you financially, such as:

  • Credit applications or enquiries you’ve made, both personally and commercially.
  • Credit accounts which are open and current, including home or car loans and credit cards.
  • Personal and commercial accounts which are late or overdue.
  • Past bankruptcy information.
  • Court judgements or court writs.

Some of this information, such as filing for bankruptcy, will be kept on your file for 7 years. Other information, like credit enquiries, applications, accounts or past court judgements will only be kept on your account for 5 years.

How important is my credit history when going for my first home loan?

Lisa Montgomery

  • Lisa Montgomery is a mortgage and consumer finance expert
  • Lisa has over 26 years working in Financial Services
  • Lisa says an applicant’s credit history is important when applying for a home loan because there are now so many ways to have bad marks on your credit file.

‘People forget about managing their credit history because there are so many forms of credit’

‘Times have changed - you used to only have a credit card, home loan and maybe a personal loan, usually with the same provider. Now you’ve got mobile phone bills and utilities and the management of these.’

Your credit history is part of the report supplied to your prospective lender by credit file monitoring organisations like Equifax. Using this report your lender will see all of your financial information and work out how much of a risk you are, assigning you a credit rating.

Montgomery says the level of importance the banks place on your credit history depends on the rest of your application, saying ‘most lenders are open to hearing the rationale behind why things have gone pear-shaped.’

‘If everything else about your application is great, they’re usually open to explanation,’ she says.

Heidi Armstrong

State Custodians Mortgage Company

How important is my credit history when I apply for a loan?

How will my credit rating affect my home loan application?

Your credit rating gives your lender the information they need to know what kind of borrower you’ll be. If you have a good credit rating you could have access to more home loan options and your home loan interest rates could be lower, saving you hundreds a month on your repayments.

If you have an average credit rating, you could pay higher interest rates and have less home loan options to choose from and if you have a bad rating you may not be able to get approval for a loan at all.

Your credit rating isn’t the only factor a lender will take into account when approving or denying your home loan application, so don’t panic just yet if you’ve got a less-than-ideal record.

About bad credit home loan options

Other factors that affect a loan application

Montgomery says there’s ‘a whole bunch of criteria’ that goes into your loan application, including ‘the size of your deposit, your employment and employment history and your income. It’s more flexible than you think.’

How can I improve my credit rating?

A good place to start is by looking at your credit file and then make sure all the information within it is correct.

It’s a good idea to do this regularly and before any financial decisions you make, so that if you apply for a loan there are no nasty surprises. If you don’t check before you apply for a loan and then get denied, you’ll also have this recorded in your credit history, so it pays to be careful.

Another interesting point to consider is whether or not to apply for any new credit products before you approach your lender to ask for a loan. If have no previous applications for a credit product on your credit report, taking out a credit card can be a good way to show your lender that you are able to service a debt. But be careful. Defaulting on a payment will put you back months in the eyes of the bank. Taking out credit soon before you apply for a loan can send a negative signal to your lender.

But as Montgomery says, the best way to make your credit file look good is to change your spending patterns.

‘If something is fundamentally wrong with your spending behaviour just fixing it on paper won’t change it. There is no get out of jail free card.

My Credit Alert

Order a copy of your credit file

Receive email alerts whenever specific changes occur on your credit file for 12 months. You also receive a copy of your credit file despatched within one working day.

Receive your credit file with information on:

  • Details of consumer credit enquiries
  • Details of overdue consumer credit accounts
  • Commercial credit enquiries
  • Details of overdue commercial credit accounts
  • Bankruptcy & Court Judgements
  • Writs & Summons
  • Information on your current relationship with a credit provider
  • $79.95 p.a.

Home loan rejection

Montgomery says home loan applications are usually rejected because applicants haven’t been upfront.They may have tried to hide:

  • a bad credit history
  • a savings history which is not genuine, for example savings which were a gift
  • employment which hasn’t been continuous or consistent
  • an income which won’t be able to service repayments

If you do have bad credit all may not be lost. There are a number of lenders in the market who offer non-conforming loans and bad credit products, such as Pepper and Freedom Loans. You can lodge an enquiry with them using the form below. They'll get in touch with you to discuss what options you may have.

Rates last updated February 22nd, 2018
Details Features
ClickLoans is an online-only lender that offers home loans for both self-employed and PAYG borrowers who may have bad credit.
  • They can help with purchasing and refinancing
  • Can assist owner occupier and investment borrowers
  • Great features like 100% offset and unlimited extra repayments
Enquire Now More info

Marc Terrano

Marc Terrano is a content marketer manager at finder. He's been writing and publishing personal finance content for over five years and loves to help Australians get a better deal.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    LaurenJuly 31, 2015

    If you have had a bad credit rating and it is now clear do they still consider you a risk? (For home loan)

    • Staff
      BelindaAugust 3, 2015Staff

      Hi Lauren,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      Generally, lenders have different eligibility criteria and will take into account a range of factors, other than your credit rating, when reviewing your application.

      Ultimately, they will review your income, debts and any other existing liabilities to determine your ability to service the mortgage.

      On this page you can read our advice about how to improve your chances of getting approved for a home loan application even if you have a bad credit rating, and you can enquire with a lender that’s more likely to review your application.


    • Default Gravatar
      KanikaAugust 16, 2015

      If a person does not have credit card, can a home loan application be considering on saving account transactions (as in this case there won’t be a credit history)?

    • Staff
      BelindaAugust 17, 2015Staff

      Hi Kanika,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      When reviewing a home loan applications, lenders will review your income, assets and any existing debt that you have against your name to determine your ability to repay the loan.

      To answer your question, a credit card is not required for a home loan application to be assessed, and the lender will take into account your savings history, among other criteria when reviewing your serviceability.


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