Consumers better off with CCR, but young Aussies are still struggling to get ahead (Business)
New opportunities emerge for lenders as consumers benefit from comprehensive credit reporting, reveals the 2018 Equifax Australian Credit Scorecard
Sydney, Australia: 3 December 2018 – Australian consumers are beginning to see the benefits of the new Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR) system reflected in their Equifax credit scores1, according to new data from Equifax.
Released today, the 2018 Equifax Australian Credit Scorecard, combining analysis of more than two million Equifax scores with consumer research on the attitudes of 1,000 Australians, reveals that the average Australian Equifax credit score is 820 of a possible 1200, which falls in the ‘very good’ range.
The inclusion of Repayment History Information (RHI)2 in consumers’ Equifax credit scores has created a net lift in the average Equifax score nationally, as Australians who have been diligently paying their credit commitments (such as personal loans and credit card minimum balance) on time each month move from being considered ‘medium risk’ to ‘low risk’, due to their good repayment behaviour.
It’s consumers who have worked to recover from a financial rough patch, however, who are the biggest beneficiaries of CCR.
According to Equifax data, consumers who have experienced an adverse credit event in the past but whose payments are up to date have a significantly better average Equifax credit score under CCR than in cases where there was adverse credit information but no RHI was included. Similarly, consumers who have an outstanding repayment up to 29 days overdue are also likely to be better off under CCR.
Matt Strassberg, Equifax spokesperson, said now that CCR data has reached critical mass3, the benefits of RHI can be fully appreciated.
“The inclusion of Repayment History Information in consumers’ credit scores allows lenders to see a clearer picture of their current and potential customers. For credit providers, this offers an opportunity to improve the customer experience, offer more tailored products, provide faster decisions and enable greater financial inclusion.
“From a consumer perspective, this means that people who have experienced an adverse credit event but worked to recover could have access to lines of credit that may not have been available to them in the past,” Mr Strassberg said.
The Equifax Australian Credit Scorecard offers market-leading insights into the credit habits and Equifax credit scores of Australian consumers. An Equifax credit score is a summary of an individual’s credit information held by Equifax and indicates how credit providers may view consumers when they apply for credit. Equifax credit scores may be used by consumers to help them negotiate when applying for credit.
Equifax Scorecard state of the nation
Although the national average Equifax credit score is in the ‘very good’ range, some Australian consumers are wary about their financial situation.
Almost twice as many consumers feel more confident and in control of their finances than those who feel less confident, than they did 12 months ago (20% more vs 11% less). However 12 per cent of Australians feel very anxious about their finances and 27 per cent are worried about their debt levels4.
Of all the generational groups, millennials are most worried about their current level of debt (35% vs. 27% nationally) and more likely to believe they have a bad credit rating (28% vs. 19% nationally) – concerns that are reflected in their Equifax credit scores.
“Millennials have the lowest average Equifax credit score of all the generational groups, sitting at 731. While this is still classified as a good Equifax credit score, it makes them the only generation to have an Equifax credit score lower than the national average. Gen Xers have an average Equifax credit score of 829, while Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation are well above the national standard with average Equifax credit scores of 888 and 904 respectively,” Mr Strassberg said.
One of the reasons younger Australians may have lower Equifax credit scores is because they’re more likely to struggle with managing their money and making repayments on time. Close to half (47%) of people aged 18-24 say there’s a lot they don’t understand when it comes to money management, and a quarter (26%) of this cohort admit to overspending because they don’t want to miss out on what others are doing.
Despite their immediate financial uncertainties, two-thirds (65%) of millennials say they have clear long-term financial goals they are working towards, compared to 54 per cent of Australians nationally.
“There is clearly some work to be done on financial literacy to help millennials reach their long-term financial goals. However, CCR provides an opportunity for lenders to tailor their approach to younger customers who might need more personalised products and services than their older counterparts, while also ensuring responsible lending standards are met,” Mr Strassberg said.
“The good news is, if individuals find themselves in financial trouble, CCR data, in particular RHI, can help them demonstrate their good behaviour to lenders as they get back on their feet. When consumers can show lenders that they are in control of their finances, it may open up new opportunities to help them access safe, responsible credit,” he concluded.
About Equifax Credit Scores
An Equifax credit score will fall into one of five bands, with each band representing a consumer’s level of level of risk according to their Equifax score. The credit score bands are:
- Excellent (1,200-933)
- Very good (932-811)
- Good (810-675)
- Average (674-523)
- Below average (522-0)
How to access your free Equifax Credit Report and Equifax credit score
Purpose of Equifax media releases:
The information in this release is general in nature, is not intended to provide guidance or commentary as to Equifax’s financial position and does not constitute legal, accounting or other financial advice. To the extent permitted by law, Equifax provides no representations, undertakings or warranties concerning the accuracy, completeness or up-to-date nature of the information provided, and specifically excludes all liability or responsibility for any loss or damage arising out of reliance on information in this release including any consequential or indirect loss, loss of profit, loss of revenue or loss of business opportunity.
1 The Equifax Australian Credit Scorecard is based on analysis of the Equifax credit score available to consumers. This credit score may differ to the credit scores lenders use.
2 To date, the majority of the RHI information relates to personal loan and credit card portfolios (unsecured credit). RHI information will gradually include mortgages (secured credit) over the next 12 months
3 Critical mass means more than 40% of total credit active accounts include comprehensive credit information
4 Quantitative survey conducted by YouGov Galaxy in October 2018 on behalf of Equifax. Representative survey sample (n = 1,027) across all Australian states and territories