Positive Credit Reporting: Positive bureau credit history proposed by Australian government

Australia's credit history reporting system has been reviewed by the Australian government and will change in March 2014

Important information about credit reporting changes

Merrilyn Mansfield: Financial Advocate, PRINCEVILLE Credit Advocates


Positive credit reporting

Australians will finally have a credit report which reports not only the negative but now also the positive, and the new data will start to be shared from March 2014.

There are now five new data fields which are included in your credit file. These are:

  • Date your account was opened
  • The current limit of this account
  • The nature of the credit account
  • The date the account was closed if applicable
  • Your account payment history for licensed credit providers

Currently only information regarding if you’ve failed to pay a bill, defaulted on a loan, or even made late payments is included on your credit report. Other items on your report show when a lender has accessed your report (for example, if you’re applying for a credit card or a mortgage, the lender will often run a check on your report). Basically, this means that for most people credit reports are fairly bland and boring documents – which, of course, is exactly what you want them to be if they only have negative information on them.

But this system means lenders have much less information to go by when they’re assessing whether or not you are a good risk or a bad risk for a loan, and they might hold it against you if you’ve had a number of ‘credit report access’ lines listed on your report. For example, if you’ve applied for a few different credit cards, they might all show up on your report, and then start to make you look bad if you’re later applying for a mortgage.

This contrasts to the system in the US and UK where they have a positive reporting environment and individuals can build up collateral if they pay their credit cards or rent on time, or if they promptly pay off a car loan or make regular payments on their mortgage. These types of positive events are added to people’s files, so when it comes time for them to get a loan, the new lenders can see how reliable they are. This not only can improve your chances of securing a loan, it has been known to help people negotiate more favourable interest rates because they can demonstrate to their new lender that they are a low-default risk.

A win-win situation

In 2011, Credit reporting bureau Equifax carried out a pilot study with ten of Australia's major lenders which lasted for two years. The findings supported the view that the Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR) program will increase the information lenders can access and help provide a fairer system for consumers.

Steps for checking your credit report

  • Follow this link
  • Choose the free option if you’re happy to wait ten days for your report or pay $30 if you want the information immediately;
  • Enter your basic personal details, such as your contact information, employer and drivers’ license; and
  • Once your report is emailed to you a few days later, run your eyes over the PDF file to you to see what lenders can find out about you.
  • If there are any negative incidents recorded against your name, they will expire within five years of the event occurring (or seven years for the big ones such as bankruptcy).
  • If there is something on your report you don’t think is correct, you should first contact the lender who made the listing (for example, the bank’s name might be there so get in touch with them directly). Maybe there is a payment you overlooked and changed address and didn’t realise you hadn’t paid it. If you are sure it is incorrect, you can contact the credit reporter and ask about the process of having the item removed. Sometimes unexpected black marks on your credit report can reveal identity theft or other fraudulent activity so it’s important to get straight onto it.

    Here’s to wishing you a bland and boring credit report. That is, until the days we can celebrate a positive report and start building up brownie points to show lenders just how reliable we can be - which is coming soon!

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Jacob Joseph

Jacob is a writer and video journalist with finder.com.au. Credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts are his bread and butter, and he likes nothing more helping people understand the sometimes overly complex world of personal finance.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MarkMarch 7, 2015

    Can you be relisted twice for the same problem ? for example if I didn’t pay a car loan out and it was reprocessed and its coming up to the end of the listed period on my credit report , then can they relist me again ?

    • finder Customer Care
      JonathanMarch 9, 2015Staff

      Hi Mark, thanks for your inquiry.

      Credit issuers can report a debt to a credit reporting agency and request the default be recorded on your credit report if one of the following cases occurs; the default amount is $150 or more, 60 days or more have passed since the due date for payment, the creditor has asked for the payment of debt either in person or in writing or can not get in contact with you.

      I hope this helps.



  2. Default Gravatar
    johnJanuary 17, 2015

    can I be replaced on bad credit history report twice for same debt ie original debt was placed on register in 2004 appears to me after seven years it was re-listed

    • finder Customer Care
      JonathanJanuary 21, 2015Staff

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your inquiry,

      The Australian Securities and Investments Commission states:

      “If you don’t make payment on a debt, your credit provider may refer your debt to a debt collector and/or report your debt to a credit reporting agency and ask them to record the default on your credit report.

      A credit provider may only report your debt if:

      The default amount is $150 or more.

      You’re a ‘confirmed missing debtor’ or ‘clearout’ which means that your creditor can’t get in contact with you, or
      60 days or more have passed since the due date for payment, and

      The creditor has asked you to pay the debt either in person (for example by phone call) or in writing (sending a written notice to your last known address).

      A credit default listing remains on your report for 5 years (in the case of a clearout it remains for 7 years). If you pay the debt, the listing stays but your credit report will be updated to show you have made payments.”

      For more information regarding defaults on your credit report please refer to the website link I have sent to your email.

      I hope this helps.



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