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 enquiry||How long it stays on your credit report|
|Serious credit infringement||7 years|
|Court judgement||5 years|
|Credit enquiry||5 years|
|Debt agreement||5 years**|
|Current credit obligation||2 years|
|Repayment history||2 years|
|Financial hardship information||1 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.
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.
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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