What is a Credit Report

If you have ever applied for credit, then you have a credit history or credit report.  A credit report has information about your credit history including information about any credit obligations you may have, any court judgments against you, whether you have defaulted on a loan, your repayment history and whether you are or have been bankrupt.

What information is in a Credit Report

In the new comprehensive credit reporting system, your credit report may contain the following information:

  • your name, date of birth, gender, residential address history, employer history and driver’s licence number
  • any applications for credit, including information about the type and amount of credit the dates accounts are opened and closed
  • credit limits (the amount of credit available to you under each credit account)
  • terms and conditions about repayment of credit
  • the name of your credit providers and the names of any credit providers who have requested copies of your credit report
  • current utility contracts you may have
  • information about whether you have applied for commercial credit
  • information about debts which you have guaranteed, including information about when the borrower for a loan you have guaranteed has defaulted on their payment obligations
  • default information (ie information about payments of more than $150 that are at least 60 days overdue and for which you have been served at least two notices requesting payment)
  • information about any overdue debts that have now been paid
  • court judgments made in relation to credit provided to you or credit you have applied for
  • information about debt agreements or insolvency agreements you have entered into and whether you are or have been bankrupt
  • repayment history information, such as whether a monthly repayment was made in full on the due date and if the debt was paid more than 14 days late (this information can only be supplied or accessed by licensed credit providers such as a banks or financial institutions, it cannot be supplied or accessed by telecommunications companies or utility providers)
  • information about any serious credit infringements, such as fraudulently attempting to obtain credit, fraudulently evading your credit obligations or if you have stopped making payments altogether and your credit provider has had no contact with you for 6 months or more despite taking reasonable steps to contact you

How long can information be kept on a Credit Report

How long a credit reporting agency may keep information on your credit report depends on what type of credit information it is.

  • Repayment history information will be removed after 2 years.
  • A default will be removed after 5 years.
  • A serious infringement will be removed after 7 years.
  • A notice of court judgment (money order) will be removed after 5 years.
  • Information about bankruptcy will be removed after 7 years.
  • Information about debt agreements will be removed after 5 years.

Who can access my Credit Report

Your credit report can only be accessed by credit providers who you have applied for credit from, such as banks, finance companies, telecommunications or utility providers.

Some information on your credit report (eg repayment history information) can only be accessed by licensed credit providers such as banks and financial institutions. Telecommunications companies and utility providers are not licensed credit providers.

 

How do I access my Credit Report

You are entitled to access your credit report for free once a year from any of the major credit reporting agencies. You can also get a free credit report if you have applied for credit and been refused in the past three months. The credit reporting agency must provide you with a copy of your credit report within 10 days of your request.

How do I fix mistakes on my credit report

If you find a mistake on your credit report, you can request that the error is corrected. You can ask the credit provider or the credit reporting agency who informed you of the problem or who is responsible for the incorrect entry to correct the information. Credit providers and credit reporting agencies are required to correct any errors that you bring to their attention.

Credit providers will refer your request to the credit reporting agency to correct the information on your report. The credit reporting agency must respond within a reasonable period of time and if they are satisfied there is a mistake on the report, they must correct the information within 30 days of the request.

If the credit reporting agency decides not to correct the information, they must tell you that the correction has not been made and the reasons why the correction has not been made.