If you're after credit – perhaps a credit card or a personal loan – you’ll need a good credit score. It’s something you build up over time, though sometimes mistakes can creep in. Here’s how to get hold of your credit report and fix any errors or issues you find.
Why should I check my credit report?
It’s a good idea to check your credit report once a year. Even though your credit providers and credit reporting bodies take care with your information, mistakes and fraud can happen.
Here’s a list of some things to check on your credit record:
- all credit enquiries and applications are actually yours
- all listed defaults and repayment history details are correct
- your personal and contact details are correct.
How can I find out what is in my credit report?
Credit reporting bodies create and hold credit reports. The credit reporting bodies that we share information with include:
Your credit provider has to tell you who they share your information with. You can usually find this detail in their credit reporting or privacy policies.
There are a number of ways to find out what is in your credit report. You’ve got the right:
- to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months
- to get a free copy of your credit report within 90 days of having an application for credit rejected.
You’ll need identification when you order your report so have things like your driver’s license handy.
What laws apply?
The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and Privacy (Credit Reporting) Code 2014 (CR code) outlines your rights as well as the obligations of organisations who handle and share your credit information.
Can I have mistakes corrected in my credit report?
Yes. The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) states that you’ve got the right to have your credit report corrected if there's any inaccurate, out-of-date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading information. You can do this free of charge.
How do I get my credit report changed if it is incorrect?
If you think your credit report contains any inaccurate, out-of-date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading information, you can take the following steps to have it fixed.
Step 1: internal dispute resolution
Every credit provider and credit reporting body has a free complaint handling process. They are required to deal with your complaint.
If you send a complaint to a credit reporting body, make sure you also send a copy to any relevant creditor. Remember to date, sign and keep a copy of your letter.
If a credit reporting body or credit provider refuses to correct your credit file, they must provide the reasons why and evidence proving the correctness of the information.
If you’re not happy with the internal dispute resolution process of a credit provider or credit reporting body, you can use external dispute resolution processes including the Ombudsman scheme or the Commissioner.
Step 2: external dispute resolution
Credit reporting bodies and credit providers are required to be a member of a free and independent dispute resolution service called an Ombudsman service. Ombudsman schemes include:
- Financial Ombudsman Service
- Credit and Investments Ombudsman
- Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria
- Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.