Credit reporting is the sharing of information between credit providers and credit reporting bodies about the lending products you have. When you apply for a loan or a product like a credit card, credit providers will check your credit report.
In some cases, information found on your credit report may be inaccurate. It's important to have this information corrected to be sure that these discrepancies are not impacting your credit health or your ability to secure credit.
You can do this by contacting the credit reporting body or your credit provider. they may be able to fix it straight away or help you get it changed.
What’s the difference between a credit reporting body and credit provider?
A credit reporting body collects and holds information about your credit history. A credit provider is a body that provides the loan or credit you are applying for, like a bank or lending group.
Some examples of incorrect information reported by a credit reporting body are;
- your name, date of birth, or address needs to be updated
- a debt is listed twice
- the amount of a debt is wrong
You can contact the main credit reporting bodies or request a copy of your credit report free of charge using the below details:
Some examples of information incorrectly reported by a credit provider are;
- incorrectly listed that a payment of $150 or more was overdue by 60 days or more
- did not notify you about an unpaid debt
- listed a default (an overdue debt) while you were in dispute about it
- didn't show that they had agreed to put a payment plan in place or change the contract terms
- created an account by mistake or as a result of identity theft
If the credit provider agrees it's wrong, they'll ask the credit reporting body to remove it from your credit report.
If you can't reach an agreement, contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) to make a complaint and get free, independent dispute resolution.
While it's important to correct inaccurate information with these providers, some details are not able to be removed.
Even if these details negatively impact your credit rating, they are not able to be updated if they are correct:
- All payments you've made during the last two years — on credit cards, loans, or bills, whether you paid on time or not.
- Payments of $150 or more that are overdue by 60 days or more — these stay on your report for five years, even after you've paid them off.
- All applications for credit cards, store cards, home loans, personal loans, and business loans — these stay on your report for five years.
Even though these details are not able to be updated, there are steps you can take to more positively impact your credit rating and your overall credit score, like:
- lower your credit card limit
- limit how many applications you make for credit
- pay your rent or mortgage on time
- pay your utility bills on time
- pay your credit card on time each month — either pay in full or pay more than the minimum repayment
As you do these things, your credit score will start to improve and you will be more likely to be successful with credit providers when applying for a loan or credit.
If you're struggling to improve your credit score or find yourself getting into more debt you can talk to a free financial counsellor, or contact your credit provider to talk about your options.
You can also visit the Credit Smart to find details on how you can take control of your credit.
Free, independent financial counselling