Canstar’s Credit Score Information Hub is designed to help you understand your credit score and credit report. It covers topics including:
- What your credit score and credit report are
- Checking your credit report and credit score
- What a good credit score is
- What affects your credit score
- How to work on improving your credit score
- Applying for loans or credit cards with a poor credit history or no credit history
What is a credit score or credit rating?
A credit score, also known as a credit rating, is a number calculated by a credit bureau (a credit reporting agency) to represent how trustworthy your reputation is as a borrower. Your credit score will typically be on a scale of 0-1,200 or 0-1,000 depending on the bureau you use. The higher your credit score, the better your position currently is.
Your credit score is one of the factors lenders may use to decide whether or not you are eligible for a credit product, and when deciding what interest rate to charge you.
- How often can you check your credit score? As often as you like typically, but there may be a limit on the number of free checks you can do.
- How long does it take? The response is usually instant – after you have provided some identification information.
- What does it cost? Usually you can do a credit score check for free, but there may be an upper limit on the number of free checks you can do.
What is a credit report?
Your credit report contains details about your credit history. The information in your report is used to calculate your credit score. The system of credit reporting in Australia is knows as ‘comprehensive credit reporting’, meaning both negative and positive information could be included on your report.
Your report may show things like details of any applications you have made for credit cards, loans, or other products; current credit accounts you hold and ones you have had in the past; overdue accounts or late payments, bankruptcy, and other financial information. Your credit report may also contain positive information about your history, such as details of the regular repayments you have made in full and on time.
- How often can you access your credit report? Usually once a year for free (a charge might apply for additional checks).
- How long does it take? Up to 10 days for a free credit report, or you may be able to pay for a quicker turnaround.
- What does it cost? It’s typically free for a credit report to arrive in up to 10 days, or you may need to pay for a credit report that arrives sooner.
Your credit report contains details about your credit history, whereas your credit score is a number that represents your ‘creditworthiness’ by drawing on the data from the report at a particular point.
No, checking your score does not have a negative impact on your rating.
If you notice an error in your report, you should consider contacting the bureau who may be able to investigate the complaint on your behalf and look into removing the incorrect listing.
What is a good credit score in Australia?
Your score is usually on a scale between 0 and 1,200 or between 0 and 1,000 depending on the reporting agency you use to check your score.
Here’s how Equifax (formerly known as Veda) determines which categories different scores fall within:
|Credit-worthiness||Excellent||Very Good||Good||Average||Below Average|
|Score||841 – 1,200||756 – 840||666 – 755||506 – 665||0 – 505|
What can you do to improve or maintain your credit score?
Excellent 841 – 1,200: What could this mean for you?
Equifax’s data shows that people who score in this range are in the top 20% of Australian consumers with an Equifax report and are highly unlikely to experience an adverse event that will harm their credit in the next 12 months.
Read about what having a high score can mean for your finances.
How can I maintain my excellent credit score?
If you’re keen to keep your score in a healthy position, the article below explains some steps you can consider taking.
Very Good 756 – 840: What could this mean for you?
Equifax’s data shows people who score in this range are twice as likely as the average Equifax report holder to keep a clean report over the next 12 months, and are unlikely to incur an adverse event during this time.
How can I keep or improve my score?
To improve a ‘very good’ score, continuing and building on your good habits – like paying your bills on time – may be important factors to consider. Find out more here:
Good 666 – 755: What could this mean for you?
People who score in this range are more likely than consumers who score in the lower ranges to keep a clean report in the next 12 months, according to Equifax’s data, and are less likely to experience an adverse event during this period.
What can I do to help improve my score?
Improving on a ‘good’ credit score could involve steps like continuing to make regular progress on paying down your debt and being careful when applying for additional financial products. You can read more about these and other steps to consider here:
Average 506 – 665: What could this mean for you?
According to Equifax data, scores in this range belong to people who are likely to experience an adverse event such as default, bankruptcy or court judgement in the next 12 months.
What can I do to help improve my score?
To fix or improve an average score, you may want to consider steps like keeping your credit card balances low and working to pay off outstanding loans and debt.
Find out more about fixing or improving your score:
Below Average 0 – 505: What could this mean for you?
Equifax’s data indicates that scores in this range belong to people who are more likely than consumers in the higher ranges to experience an adverse event such as default, bankruptcy or a court judgement in the next 12 months.
What can I do to improve my score?
Those who find themselves with a below average credit score may want to consider taking more urgent action to improve their position. You can read about some steps to consider taking here:
What could affect my credit score?
Here are some factors that may affect your credit score:
Positive (could help your credit score)
- Repaying credit cards and loans responsibly
- Paying your bills on time
- Keeping credit card balances and your debt-to-credit ratio low
- Being careful about applying for new credit products
- Regularly checking your credit score to avoid any errors appearing
Negative (could hurt your credit score)
- Making multiple credit applications in a short space of time
- Missing credit card or loan repayments
- Not paying bills in full and on time
- Maxing out your credit limit
- Court judgement against you regarding outstanding debt
- Not regularly checking your credit score or ignoring inaccuracies on your credit report
Poor or no credit history? What credit can you apply for?
Having a poor credit record, or no credit history at all, doesn’t necessarily mean you likely won’t be able to access credit. Here are some articles which may give you an idea of what to think about if you find yourself in this position: