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How long do credit enquiries stay on your credit report?

Credit enquiries can stay on your report for 5 years but other details could be listed for longer. Here’s how to request their removal.

If you find incorrect details on your credit report, such as unfamiliar credit enquiries, you can ask for them to be removed. Doing so will make your credit report more accurate and can help improve your credit score.

However, it's not possible to remove correct enquiries and listings from your credit report and the details on your credit report will typically be listed for between 1 and 7 years in Australia.

For example, normal credit enquiries (like applying for a credit card) will remain on your report for 5 years, while serious infringements can stay there for 7 years.

How long do certain enquiries stay on your credit report?

Type of enquiryHow long it stays on your credit report
Serious credit infringement7 years
Bankruptcy5 years*
Court judgement5 years
Credit enquiry5 years
Debt agreement5 years**
Default5 years
Current credit obligation2 years
Repayment history2 years
Financial hardship information1 year

*Bankruptcies will remain on your credit report for 5 years, but will disappear after 2 years from the point you are no longer bankrupt.

**Debt agreements will be removed from your credit report 2 years after they have been terminated, declared void or ended.

Finder survey: How many Australians have been rejected for a financial product?

ResponseMaleFemale
None of the above84.55%82.79%
Loan6.71%11.28%
Credit card10.77%9.18%
Phone plan2.03%2.29%
Other1.02%0.76%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1016 Australians, December 2023

Can I remove any enquiry from my credit report?

You can't remove a legitimate enquiry from your credit report. In most cases, credit enquiries will be listed for 5 years before they are automatically removed from your report.

You can only get incorrect or inaccurate details removed from your credit report at a different time. Some examples of when you could request a correction include:

  • Enquiries you have not authorised
  • Credit accounts you never opened
  • If your name is still listed on a joint account that you have been removed from
  • Accounts that are incorrectly listed as "in default"
  • Late payment details when you have proof of making payments on time

How to remove incorrect details and enquiries from your credit report

1. Check your credit report

You can get a free copy of your credit report and score through Finder every month. You can also request a copy of your credit report directly with each of the credit reporting bodies in Australia (Finder gets its details from Experian).

Go through the details on your report and note down any that are incorrect or unfamiliar. This includes soft and hard credit enquiries for loans, credit card applications and utilities that you're not aware of or haven't approved.

2. Follow up on unfamiliar enquiries

Contact the lender listed for an unfamiliar credit inquiry and ask it for details of the enquiry. This will help you determine if you authorised it or not.

If the lender agrees it has made a mistake, it should correct the error on your credit report.

Tip: Keep in mind that sometimes ticking a box means you've given approval for a credit check. For example, if you agree to terms and conditions for a product without reading them to see if a credit check is included.

3. Submit a request for incorrect details to be removed

You need to do this directly through the credit reporting body that issued your credit report. For example, if you checked your report through Finder, you'd contact Experian. Or, if you requested a copy from Equifax, you'd contact it.

What happens after I've made the request?

The credit reporting body will review your request for a correction and contact you with an outcome.

If you are successful, the details will be removed from your credit report.

If you are unsuccessful, the listing will remain on your credit report for the required time (e.g. 5 years from when a credit enquiry was made).

What is a credit enquiry?

A credit enquiry is a record that shows when your credit report has been accessed by you or a third party. There are 2 main types of credit enquiries:

"Soft" enquiries are recorded any time you request a copy of your credit file. This includes when your file is accessed through a separate platform, like the Finder app, and doesn't really have an impact on your credit score.

A "hard" enquiry refers to any request for your credit file that's made by a third party, such as a lender. For instance, every time you apply for a line of credit, such as a card or personal loan, the lender you've applied with will submit a request for your credit file.

This request is recorded on your credit history as a "hard credit enquiry". Too many hard enquiries can lower your credit score and your chance of approval.

Both soft and hard enquiries stay on your credit report for 5 years.

How credit enquiries impact your credit score

Lenders use information from your credit history to help them determine your eligibility for loan products like credit cards and personal loans.

This includes the number of credit enquiries you've made. These enquiries stay on your credit report for 5 years and are then removed automatically.

If you have too many credit enquiries on your file in a short amount of time, it can negatively impact your credit score and your ability to get a credit card or loan.

Tips to avoid too many credit enquiries on your credit report

  • Limit new applications. You can keep the number of credit enquiries on your file down by only applying for new products when it's necessary. Applying for one account at a time and waiting a few months between applications will also help keep your credit enquiries to a minimum.
  • Pay your accounts by the due date. Information about late payments can also have a negative impact on your credit file. Aim to make repayments by the due date on your statements.
  • Settle outstanding debts. Repay any debts you can afford to pay off. This can show lenders that you are responsible with money.
  • Close old accounts. Go through your credit file and check if there are any accounts that are still open that you don't use. For example, an old joint electricity account from a sharehouse. Closing these or removing your name from them will ensure that only current, relevant details are on your credit report.

What other errors should I look out for on my credit report?

Once you've got your credit report, here's a list of the details you should double check:

  • Debts or loans. Check that each debt is yours and that the amounts are correct.
  • Defaults. Defaults can only be listed for debts over $150 that are overdue by 60 days. Creditors must also inform you in writing before listing a debt as a default, so check that you received notification.
  • Serious credit infringements. A serious credit infringement can only be listed six months after it is listed as a default and only if the debtor is unable to contact you at your last known address. Make sure the creditor took the correct action before listing.
  • Credit applications. Make sure the applications listed were made by you. If they weren't, someone may be using your identity to apply for loans and you need to address it right away.
  • Name and date of birth. Make sure both are accurate.
  • Current and previous addresses. Being contactable is essential to maintaining a good credit file, so make sure your details are up to date.

How can I keep my credit file free from errors?

The simplest way to keep your credit file error-free is to check it regularly. If you request your credit report through finder you can access it again at any time in your finder account. We will also notify you whenever something on your report changes so you can keep an eye out for inaccuracies.

You also need to make sure that all payments and debits actually go through, don't just rely on someone else or automatic transfers to pay your bills. Physically check to see if the money has left your account.

Your credit report is important and it should be checked regularly for accuracy. If you find a genuine mistake it is relatively simple to have it rectified by any of the credit reporting bodies. Doing so will help ensure that you're treated fairly by lenders.

Frequently asked questions

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65 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    SusanFebruary 23, 2023

    Why is it showing 1 Hard Credit Enquiry and 47 Soft Credit Enquires on my report.
    I haven’t authorised any enquiries. Is this a scam?

      AvatarFinder
      SarahMarch 2, 2023Finder

      Hi Susan,

      Soft credit enquiries are only shown to you and they do not impact your credit score.

      A soft credit check is an inquiry into your credit report, made either by you or by a company. A soft inquiry can occur even if you don’t apply for credit and it does not affect your credit score.

      The types of things that can trigger a soft credit enquiry include:
      – When a credit issuer checks to see if you are eligible for offers (which you may or may not have not applied for)
      – When a potential employer does a background check before hiring you.
      – When you are checking your own credit score

      Generally, you won’t be asked for your permission to have these soft checks carried out. They stay on your file for 2 years; are only visible to you when you view your credit report; and they are not visible to companies who check your credit file.

      Hope this helps!

    Default Gravatar
    AnonymousJuly 8, 2019

    Hi,

    It says I have 2 credit suppliers on my record. I know 1 is a default which I’ve nearly paid off but I’m not sure what the other 1 is. How do I find out?

      AvatarFinder
      JeniJuly 9, 2019Finder

      Hi Kylee,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      I understand that you’re seeing 2 defaults on your credit report. There are scenarios where the credit provider you have default with forwarded your defaulted balance to a debt collecting agency and the record will show 2 default – one from the original provider you had the default with and the other one is with the debt collecting bureau. You’d find out if it was a debt collecting agency once you see the provider’s name. If still unsure on this matter, you may contact our provider, Experian as we obtain credit info from their data.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

    Default Gravatar
    DavinDecember 3, 2018

    I have 10 credit enquires in my credit file! I knew that it will stay in my credit report file for five years ! But i don’t know how long does that credit enquires affect to my credit file ? Can i apply for a credit card again after 1 year passed? Or do i have to wait until 5 years passed before i can apply a credit card again ?

      AvatarFinder
      JohnDecember 3, 2018Finder

      Hi Davin,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      For a legit credit inquiry, you’ll simply have to wait two years to have a hard inquiry taken off your credit report — though it’ll only impact your credit score a year at most. On the other hand, a soft pull on your credit can only be seen by you and has no affect on your credit score. You may take out a free credit report from us after a year to check if an improvement is seen. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

    Default Gravatar
    PaulineApril 26, 2018

    I have 42 credit enquiries in my credit file other that my credit file is clear can I get them removed

      Default Gravatar
      JoelApril 26, 2018

      Hi Pauline,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      You can’t remove a legitimate enquiry from your credit file. In most cases, you will simply have to wait until five years has passed and they are taken off your history.

      In general, the only details that can be removed from your credit file are those that are incorrect or erroneous. For example, if a lender made an enquiry without proper authorisation from you, if your name was attached to an account you never opened, or if an account was incorrectly listed as “in default”. In these cases, you can submit a request to have the incorrect details removed from your file.

      If the inquiries are unauthorized, the first way is to tackle the dispute process on your own. Get the address of each creditor whom you did not approve to perform a hard inquiry. Then send them a certified letter in the mail (make sure you keep a copy for your records) stating that the inquiry was unauthorized and should be removed immediately.

      Cheers,
      Joel

    Default Gravatar
    YvonneMarch 25, 2018

    I have had over 5 enquiries this month on my credit file which I dont believe I have done how can I fix this?

      AvatarFinder
      DeeMarch 25, 2018Finder

      Hi Yvonne,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you think that those enquiries are erroneous, you can directly contact your credit reporting body (CRB) and request to have those enquiries removed. Once you have submitted your request, the CRB will then review your request and the details, before providing you with an outcome. If you are unsuccessful, the listing will remain for the allocated time (eg. five years from when an enquiry was made), and if you are successful it will be removed.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

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