A credit report is a record of your credit history. It can include information on applications for credit that you have made in the past; repayment history information on credit cards, personal loans and mortgages, as well as other publicly available information such as court writs and judgements relating to credit and bankruptcies.

You can get a free copy of your Equifax credit report every year.

If you’ve ever applied for credit, it is likely that you have a credit report, with a credit reporting body like Equifax. Your credit report is part of the information a credit provider may use to get a clearer picture of your credit commitments and how likely you are to be able to make repayments on future credit for a particular credit card, loan, mortgage or service, and on what terms. It is important to be aware of what is on your credit report and to make sure it is correct.

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Credit Reports Trending Questions

A default is also known as an overdue debt. There are two types of defaults; consumer and commercial payment defaults.

Consumer payment default - A consumer payment default can be reported by a credit provider and listed on your credit report if you have an overdue debt of equal to, or more than $150 and it is more than 60 days overdue. For example, if you have a mobile phone bill of over $150, and it was due more than 60 days ago, it could be listed on your credit report as a payment default by the phone company.

Before reporting a consumer default, the credit provider must take a number of steps such as sending two separate written notices to your last known address; first requesting payment and secondly communicating an intention to list the overdue payment with a credit reporting body (like Equifax).

Commercial payment defaults - In the case of commercial credit the minimum default amount is $100. Before listing commercial defaults or overdue debts commercial credit providers or their agents must send a notice to your last known address stating their intention to list the default amount with a credit reporting body such as Equifax.

Potential credit providers may look unfavourably on applicants with a history of overdue accounts if they consider the applicant’s credit information as part of their lending assessment: so it’s a good idea to avoid defaults getting onto your credit report. To do this, you need to ensure you make your repayments and pay your bills before they become overdue.

Both consumer and commercial payment defaults stay on your credit report for five years, even when you have paid the overdue amount. When you have paid a default, the status is updated to ‘paid’ which can be looked upon more favourably by lenders but it will remain as part of your credit history.

In your credit report you will find information about your history with credit. Your credit report is divided into a number of sections:

Personal information / Identity details

This includes information like your name, date of birth, names you may be also known as, address history as well as your driver’s licence number and employment history.

Consumer credit information

The consumer credit information section includes:

Details of credit enquiries that have been made on you by a credit provider when you have made an application for consumer credit. Consumer credit relates to loans for household or family purposes as well as for the purchase, renovation or re-financing of a residential investment property. Obvious types of credit include credit cards and loans like mortgages, personal and car loans. It also includes credit contracts such as telephone, electricity, gas and internet. Other forms of credit include interest free and ‘buy now pay later’ store finance and store cards.

Consumer credit liability accounts – this is an account that you currently have open or may have had in the past. It includes the type of account, the open and/or close date as well as the credit limit. Please note that not all credit providers supply consumer credit liability information to credit reporting bodies like Equifax.

Monthly repayment history on credit accounts such as mortgages, personal loans and credit cards. This reflects whether you have paid the minimum amount required on time each month or not. Please note that not all credit providers supply repayment history information to credit reporting bodies like Equifax.

Overdue accounts such as defaults and serious credit infringements

Public record information like:

  • Court judgements
  • Directorship details
  • Proprietorship details
  • Bankruptcy, debt agreement and personal insolvency

Commercial credit information

Details of credit enquiries that have been made on you for commercial credit. Examples of commercial credit include a mobile phone contract or credit card for business use or a business loan.

Details of any overdue commercial credit accounts and other debts.

File access information

This outlines third parties who have accessed your credit report including brokers, credit repair agencies and Equifax itself; for example, if you order a copy of your own credit report or your credit score from Equifax you will see a file access by Equifax here.

You can view a sample Equifax credit report here.

Comprehensive credit reporting (CCR) means there is more ‘positive’ information that can be included on consumers’ credit reports. This provides a more detailed picture of an individual’s credit history and credit worthiness. CCR refers to the type of consumer credit information that can be collected by credit reporting bodies (CRBs) and can be used by credit providers when making a lending decision.

The positive CCR data that can be included on credit reports includes:

  • account information such as the date an account was opened and closed;
  • credit limit;
  • type of credit account; and
  • 24 months repayment history. Repayment history information can only be provided by and shared with licenced credit providers - this doesn’t include telecommunications and utility companies.

Previously Australia had a negative reporting system. This meant consumer credit reports could only contain information such as credit enquiries (typically applications for credit) and information from credit providers such as payment defaults and serious credit infringements. Most advanced economies in the world operate under a comprehensive credit reporting system.

CCR was introduced on 12 March 2014 as part of legislative reform. The Privacy Act 1988, which is the legislation governing consumer credit reporting in Australia, was amended to introduce comprehensive credit reporting.

Whilst CCR was introduced some time ago there has been limited CCR information supplied to CRBs. It is likely that during 2018, the amount of CCR data supplied by lenders to CRBs will increase dramatically as mandatory CCR reporting for the big four banks is due to be introduced into law by the Australian Government.