Your credit report is a record of your loan applications, lines of applications and repayment history. This is what lenders use to decide if you're a good or bad candidate for a loan. If you want a clear understanding of your finances, you can order a copy of your credit report and score for free online.
You can use this guide to learn how to read your credit report and how you can improve your credit score.
There are a few different ways you can check your credit report. Finder offers a free credit report and credit score service, powered by Experian, that you can use to check your credit information in a few minutes. You'll receive updates every month and check it whenever you want in your finder dashboard.
If you prefer, you can also get your credit report directly from credit bureaus such as Experian and Equifax. These agencies are required to provide you with a copy of your credit report within 10 days of you requesting it. They are also required to ensure that the credit information they hold on you is accurate, updated and relevant, so you can send them revision requests if you discover any errors in your credit history.
You're eligible to receive your credit report within 10 days 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 report in the previous 12 months (you can view your report for free once every 12 months).
If you request your credit score through a credit bureau, you may need to pay a fee.
Credit reporting agencies specialise in collecting information about your credit history and compiling it into your credit report. This information is gathered from sources such as credit card providers, courts and mortgage lenders:
Personal details. This includes your name, current address, where you work, your date of birth, your gender and your driver’s license number.
Consumer credit information. Your credit report includes information about the credit applications you've made in the past five years including what type of accounts they were, the dates they were opened and closed, credit limits and monthly repayment information.
Defaults. Any overdue debts or have missed payments on loans or utility bills will be listed on your report.
Public record information. This includes details on bankruptcies, court writs and judgements, personal insolvency agreements and other information held on the National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII) or anything held on the public record.
Commercial credit information. If you have made enquiries for commercial credit or are overdue on payments for commercial credit, this will be listed on your report.
What credit reporting agencies can I order a copy of my credit report from?
There are a few credit reporting agencies that can give you access to your credit report and correct any incorrect listings. However, many of these will charge you a fee to access your report:
Equifax.Equifax offers a comprehensive view of your credit history. A free copy of your report can be sent to you within 10 business days, or you can sign up to one of Equifax's credit alert packages and receive your Equifax Score, along with an express credit report for $79.95.
illion. Formerly Dun & Bradstreet, illion offers personal business credit reporting. You can check your own credit report or check various credit reports for businesses. You can order and receive your free credit report online or have it sent within a day or two via express post for just $30.
What information do I need to provide to receive my credit report?
The information you need to provide will differ with each credit reporting bureau. Generally, you will need the following:
Your full name and date of birth
Your driver's licence number
Two forms of identification (such as a copy of your birth certificate, passport or drivers licence)
Your current residential address
Name of the organisation that you last applied for credit
Why is it important to check my credit report?
It's wise to check your credit score yearly so that you can get a clear understanding of your finances before you apply for any loans or credit cards. You should check your report to ensure that the personal information listed (such as your current address and employment information) is correct. You should also regularly check your credit report so that you can identify and fix any incorrect listings that could potentially negatively impact your credit score.
Frequently asked questions
If you have ever applied for any form of credit such as a loan or credit card, you will have a credit report. You can even have a credit report if you hold a utility bill in your name or have held a store card or store interest-free finance.
Yes. You can have incorrect details removed if you request a revision from a credit reporting agency. Overdue debt and credit application information can only be updated by your credit provider, so you may have to follow it up with them.
Each credit reporting bureau will have a different credit score for you, but only some will give it to you if you order a free credit report. For example, you will need to sign up to Equifax's credit monitoring service to see your Equifax Score.
Elizabeth Barry is Finder's global fintech editor. She has written about finance for over six years and has been featured in a range of publications and media including Seven News, the ABC, Mamamia, Dynamic Business and Financy. Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Communications and a Master of Creative Writing from the University of Technology Sydney. In 2017, she received the Highly Commended award for Best New Journalist at the IT Journalism Awards. Elizabeth's passion is writing about innovations in financial services (which has surprised her more than anyone else).
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