There are 3 main credit reporting bureaus in Australia - Experian, Equifax, and Illion.
These credit reporting agencies collect and distribute the credit history data that makes up your credit report and use it to your calculate your credit score. Each agency uses its own credit score rating system, which means your credit score will vary between agencies.
Lenders will get your credit report and score from these bureaus if you apply for something like a home loan or a credit card, which is why it's important how they work.
What is a credit reporting agency?
A credit bureau is a company that collects, holds and distributes data from credit providers that pertain to a borrower's financial history. This information is then used to calculate your credit score and recorded on your credit report.
Each of the 3 main credit agencies in Australia (Experian, Equifax and Illion) uses its own scoring system to determine your credit score.
What credit reporting agencies operate in Australia?
The 3 major credit reporting agencies in Australia are:
- Experian. This data-focused credit agency lets you order a free copy of your credit report. It also lets credit providers make more accurate credit decisions through data sharing. When you order your credit report and credit score for free through Finder, the information will be delivered by Experian. Find out more about your Experian credit score.
- Equifax. This is the largest credit reporting agency in Australia and provides personal and business credit reports country-wide. You can order a free copy of your report in 10 days if you haven't ordered one in the previous year, or you can sign up for a Equifax package to have your credit file in 24 hours. Credit alert services are also available.
- illion (formerly Dun & Bradstreet). You can also contact illion to check your personal credit reports. It also offers debt recovery services and provides a business credit check service where you can verify the credit and financial stability of a business.
How to get your credit report
You can request a free copy of your credit file from each of the 3 credit reporting agencies in Australia if you haven't ordered a copy in the previous 12 months. You can also get a free copy of your Experian credit report and credit score through Finder every month.
If you order a copy of your credit report and identify incorrect information (such as false defaults or repayment information), you can also contact the credit bureau that issued your report to have these issues resolved.
This is important to check and action as any incorrect, negative listings on your account could hurt your credit report and reduce your chances of approval when applying for future lines of credit.
What other providers offer credit scores in Australia?
There are a number of companies that also offer credit scores from the 3 major credit bureaus:
- Finder (Experian credit score)
- Credit Savvy (Experian credit score)
- Credit Simple (Illion credit score)
- Get Credit Score (Equifax credit score)
- Wisr (Experian and Equifax credit scores)
- ClearScore (Experian credit score)
How do credit reporting agencies receive my information?
Any credit providers that you apply for an account with, such as a utility account, mobile phone contract, personal loan or credit card, will send this information to credit reporting agencies so it can be noted on your file. Even if you're not approved for the account it will be listed. Other public information such as court listings and bankruptcy information is also included in your report.
What information is included in your credit report?
Are there any differences between credit reporting bureaus?
Each bureau receives information from credit providers and various public sources. However, as all of these sources are not the same you'll find that your credit report may be different if you order from each of the agencies. If you find any information that is incorrect on your credit file it's important to get in contact with the credit bureau first. If it cannot be rectified then you can contact the credit provider, and if the provider can't have the error cleared, you can get in contact with the Privacy Commissioner.
You may also find that your credit score is different depending on which reporting agency you go with. For example, Experian's excellent credit band is between 800 and 1,000 and Equifax is between 853 and 1,200.
Banks know your credit score, so why shouldn't you? The Finder app updates your score automatically each month and lets you know if it changes. Pop in your phone number below to get your download link.