Credit Score Frequently Asked Questions
Credit Score Frequently Asked Questions
As Australia’s largest financial comparison site*, we are committed to empowering consumers to make better financial decisions. We believe accessing your credit score could give you further insight into how you may be seen through a lender’s eyes when you apply for credit or a loan. If your score isn’t as high as you like, you can turn to us for some ideas on how you may be able to improve it over time.
Improving your credit score could possibly result in a greater chance of having your next loan approved, greater borrowing capacity and access to lower rates on a loan or credit card.
Your credit report contains details about your credit history, whereas your credit score is a numerical figure that represents your ‘creditworthiness’ by drawing on the data from the report at a particular point. Your credit score converts this to a number between 0 and 1,200.
Be aware that there is no standard scale of credit scores. Financial institutions and credit agencies use different ways to calculate scores.
It’s safe and secure. We connect directly to Equifax, Australia’s leading credit bureau, who check your identity and ensure only you can access your credit score. Canstar does not store your credit score information.
Accessing your credit score using this service won’t negatively impact your credit score.
Checking your credit score with Canstar is free. You can read more about our business model here.
You are able to check your credit score once each month with Canstar. It’s worth checking at least once a year as your score can change, and may well improve, depending on your financial activities over time.
How your credit score is calculated may vary from one credit reporting body to another. You can visit Equifax, who we partner with to provide you with your credit score, to learn more about the weightings they use. These are subject to change but will provide some guidance on how your score may be currently calculated.
It is normal to see a variance between credit scores reported by the major credit bureaus in Australia. This is because some lenders and creditors don’t report to each bureau, as well as the fact that each typically has their own scoring model.
We expect in most cases you will receive your credit score in a few minutes. If all your information is correctly entered, it will take just a few moments for Equifax to verify your ID.
Currently your driver’s license information is the only way to verify your identity for the purposes of accessing your credit score through Canstar.
Each time new information is added to your credit report, it may impact your credit score. Examples of new information could include a loan application you have made, or simply your latest payment on an existing loan. Older information may also drop out of your credit report when it expires.
Depending on what details are added or removed, your credit score may change when it’s recalculated. There’s also the possibility that the credit reporting body who calculates your credit score could have changed their method, resulting in a different score.
While banks and other lenders can access your credit report if you apply with them for a loan or credit product, they cannot access your Equifax credit score. Every bank, lender, and credit bureau typically has a different algorithm which they use to calculate your credit score based on your credit report – so while your bank or lender of choice can access your credit report and credit history, they won’t be able to see this particular credit score.
Our tool was designed to enable people to check their own credit scores, not to use the tool on behalf of others. You are not permitted to use if for anything other than your own personal use.
Your credit report is compiled by credit reporting bodies, like Equifax, typically using information provided to them by lenders you have borrowed from. This could be a bank or a retailer you made a purchase from on credit.
Publicly available information, such as court rulings, may also be used to compile your credit report and score.
No one starts out with a high credit score – they have to earn it over time by being financially responsible and proving they can successful take on or manage debt or credit. Someone who has never had a credit card or a home loan, for example, may have a very low credit score as they have no credit history.
If your credit score is low but you’ve never had a negative event recorded on your credit report, you could be in a good position to work on improving your credit score.
It’s also worth remembering that when you make an application for credit, this will likely be recorded on your report, along with whether the application was approved and if you took out the product. There’s a possibility, therefore, that large numbers of rejected or unfulfilled applications on your credit report could lead to a lower credit score.
There’s also a chance that your credit report could contain errors, leading to a misleading score. It can be beneficial to regularly check your credit report to ensure that the information is accurate. If you notice an error, you should consider contacting the credit bureau who may be able to investigate the complaint on your behalf and look into removing the listing.
You may not have a credit score because you’ve never held a product or account that would contribute to a credit report. If you are looking to take out a loan or line of credit, not having a credit history could make it difficult to get accepted. If you want to start building a credit history, some of the things you can consider include switching to a post-paid mobile plan, taking out a low-fee, low-limit credit card, or taking out a utilities account in your own name.
Whenever you check your credit score with Canstar, the only party who’ll know you’ve done so at the time should be Equifax. However, any check you make regarding your credit score is recorded as a “soft enquiry” on your credit report. This shouldn’t impact your credit score, but it will be visible to any credit provider or credit bureau who looks at your credit report in the future.
Loan and credit applications aren’t the only things that get recorded on your credit report under a comprehensive credit reporting system. However, if you haven’t yet demonstrated an ability to take on and manage debt or credit, your credit score may not be as high as you’d like. Your credit report needs to display that you’re a responsible and safe borrower in order for your credit score to increase.
It is normal to see a variance between your Equifax credit score range and the range recognised by various financial institutions. This is because different product providers typically have their own scoring model that doesn’t always correlate to the credit score ranges used by Equifax and other credit bureaus.