A credit rating or credit score is a numerical score that shows lenders how trustworthy your reputation is as a borrower. It sums up the information on your credit report into one number, and you need to know what that number is.
So how exactly do you check your credit score? It is a good idea to check your credit score as regularly as you can. If you do have an unsatisfying score, checking your credit score can help you take the necessary steps to improve it.
How do you check your credit score and credit report?
Checking your credit score is free – and it’s very easy to do. You can check your credit score for free using the national credit reporting bodies (CRBs) listed on the government website:
- Equifax Australia (formerly known as Veda): Equifax.com.au Phone: 1300 762 207
- Dun & Bradstreet: CheckYourCredit.com.au Phone: 1300 734 806
- Experian: Experian Credit Services Phone: 1300 783 684
Or you could even try new kid on the block: GetCreditScore.com.au
Note: Equifax gives 1 free credit report a year and another within 90 days of a rejected credit application. Any other credit reports are subject to their payment plans.
You will have to provide identification information to find out your credit score, but you can do this very quickly and easily and you should be able to get an immediate indication of your credit score.
All of these credit reporting agencies also allow you to check your full credit history by ordering a free copy of your credit report once a year.
To obtain your credit report, you need to be formally identified. You may be asked to provide your full name, address, date of birth, previous address, and/or driver’s licence number. A free credit report will arrive within 10 days of the request, but you can acquire it sooner if you’re willing to pay for it.
Why do you need to check your credit score?
Your credit score is important because it directly influences how much credit a lender will give you as a borrower. People with a lower credit score are viewed by lenders as being a bigger risk of not paying back the money.
If your credit score is good, it shows a lender that you have the ability to meet your financial obligations if they give you a credit card or a loan. A bad credit score can result in you getting charged extra interest or getting knocked back on a loan altogether because financial institutions aren’t willing to loan you their money.
Tim always paid off his debts on time. After moving house, Tim didn’t receive his credit card statements for almost 6 months.
This resulted in him missing some of his payments, and a default was listed on his credit report.
The next time he applied for a loan, Tim had to pay a much higher interest rate. This could’ve been avoided if he’d checked his credit score and listed an error with his bank.
How much does it cost to check your credit rating?
It is free to check your credit rating with the three main credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Dun&Bradstreet, and Experian.
How much does it cost to check your credit report?
You can get a free copy of your credit report within 10 working days from the main credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Dun&Bradstreet, and Experian. You can obtain a free copy once per year. However, it is probably best to check your credit report more often than this.
If you want to get your credit report faster, you can pay upwards of $60 for a 1-day turnaround in accessing your report. So the biggest money-saving tip is to not be in a huge rush to receive the information!
It is important to know that a free copy of your credit report is available. According to Fiona Guthrie, the Executive Director of Financial Counselling Australia (FCA), credit reporting bodies often make it difficult for customers to know that a free check is an option.
The FCA reported a recent website check revealing that the two largest credit reporting agencies in Australia prominently promote access to their fee-based credit reports, but make it much harder to find information about the free option.
“Under the new Credit Reporting Privacy Code, credit reporting agencies must make sure that the free option is as available and easy to access as the fee-based service,” said Ms Guthrie.
“We look forward to the websites being updated.”
According to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, you can get a copy of your credit report for free from a Credit Reporting Body in all of the following circumstances:
When should you check your credit score?
According to the section above, you can get a free credit report every year. In addition to checking it every year (or several times a year if necessary), you ideally should check your credit score:
It’s something that ideally you should do:
What is included in a credit report?
In addition to your current personal information, your credit report will usually include information about your history of opening or applying for credit cards and loans and other types of credit (e.g. mobile phone post-paid plans), your record in terms of repaying those credit accounts (including late payments or missed payments), the maximum credit limits available to you on those accounts, and more. Read this article for the full list of what is included in your credit report.
Since Australia switched to a Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR) system in 2014, your credit history also now includes more general information about the financial accounts you currently have, what accounts have been opened and closed, and how well you meet your repayments. You can read more about positive credit reporting here.
Find out what to do if you see any errors or incorrect information on your credit report.
Learn more about Credit Cards
- Does getting a credit card affect my credit score?
- Will getting a balance transfer affect my credit score?
- Can I get a credit card with bad credit?