New laws implemented on 12 March 2014 mean that additional information will soon be available on consumer credit reports.
Previously, consumer credit reports in Australia have only been allowed to include identity details, credit enquiries and negative data such as defaults, court judgments and bankruptcies.
The data elements introduced by the Privacy Amendments include:
- Credit account information (e.g. account status, open and/or closed date, credit limit)
- Type of credit and account (e.g. credit card and revolving credit)
- Up to 24 months of repayment history information for commitments with a financial services organisation (e.g. payment obligation has been met or not)
- Credit provider details
What does this mean for you?
More data is available on your credit file, helping demonstrate how well you pay your credit obligations.
If you don’t pay your bills on time, credit providers will see your payment history and will be able to decide whether or not they wish to extend credit to you based on this information.
Importantly, if you’ve had a payment issue in the past, this information will allow you to demonstrate to credit providers that you’ve rectified your slip up through a series of on time payments.
What should you do?
It’s important you take the time to order a copy of your credit report and familiarise yourself with the information it contains.
Make sure you check that all of the data is correct – if you note anything on your file that you believe shouldn’t be there you can contact the credit provider or D&B’s Public Access Centre on 1300 734 806.
You can also subscribe to an alert service which will notify you in the event that data on your credit file changes. This is a good way to prevent fraud as you will be alerted immediately to someone using your details and can act quickly to notify the appropriate authorities.
For tips on achieving a strong credit file read ‘Managing your credit history’