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Product Support & FAQs
How do I restore my identity with Your Credit and Identity Guard Insurance?
Equifax’s Your Credit and Identity Guard Insurance* supports you if you’ve become a victim of identity fraud. This is feature is available with an Equifax Premium subscription. It’ll help you with the cost of restoring your identity and reduce the impact and risk associated with loss and theft. It may also help minimise the stress and grief of restoring your identity and regaining control over your finances.
It also provides you with much-needed funds while you get back on your feet – reducing the impact and risk associated with loss and theft.
Click here to read our Your Credit and Identity Guard Insurance Policy Information Booklet.
*Your Credit and Identity Guard Insurance is underwritten by AIG Australia Limited (ABN 93 004 727 753)(AFSL 381686). When eligible, Your Credit and Identity Guard Insurance may provide you with up to AUD$15,000 per annum for out-of-pocket expenses in relation to restoring your identity. Terms and conditions apply. Please refer to Your Credit and Identity Guard Insurance Policy Information Booklet.
How do I manage my Credit File?
Your credit report contains information that may affect your chance of securing credit in the future, so it’s important to find out what’s on your file so that you can work to improve it if you need to.
Check your credit report regularly, so you know where you stand
Reviewing your credit report may alert you to any incorrect information and help you uncover potential identity theft. Consider signing up for Credit Alerts, so you are aware when certain changes occur on your credit report.
Pay your bills on time
This may be a simple and effective way to improve your credit report.
If you make your credit card or loan repayments on time each month this can have a positive impact on your credit report. On the other hand, if you don’t make your repayments on time, this may have a negative impact.
If you are late paying a bill and have overdue debts outstanding by 60 days or more, this default may be listed on your credit report for up to five years. Paying your bills on time is a simple way to prevent this type of negative information appearing on your credit report. If you are having financial difficulties, you may wish to contact your credit provider to see if you can arrange a payment plan.
Before you apply for credit, check your credit report in advance
This may help give you a better idea on whether your credit application could be successful. Often banks will include an application fee, so check your credit report first to help avoid these unnecessary charges.
Avoid applying for credit when you don’t need it
Some credit providers may have a negative view of someone who has made a relatively high number of credit enquiries in a short space of time, for example, when you’re shopping around for a good deal, or still deciding whether you want to apply for a loan.
Get in touch with all your credit providers (banks, utilities, phone company, ISP, etc.) to make sure bills are re-directed to your new address. If you fail to pay these invoices a serious credit infringement or overdue debt may be listed on your credit report.
Make sure your information is correct
Equifax takes reasonable steps to ensure that your credit report is accurate. However, it’s important that you check your report and let us know if there are any administrative errors such as an incorrect date of birth, or a misspelling of your name or street address. For more information, visit our Resolution Centre.
If you believe the credit information on your report is inaccurate – such as an overdue debt or enquiry listed by a credit provider – contact the credit provider directly and seek an investigation. What’s more, if you think you’ve been the victim of identity theft, contact the police as well as the fraud departments of the relevant credit providers so that they can conduct an investigation.
You can get a copy of your credit report for free or Equifax’s Credit and Identity products provide you with a copy of your credit report as well as other feature to help you track and improve your report over time.
In certain circumstances you are entitled to a free copy of your consumer credit information. These are:
- Once every 12 months
- If you have been declined credit in the previous 90 days.
- If you request a correction and that correction has been made.
What causes my Equifax Score to fluctuate?
Your Equifax Score may change when new information is recorded in your credit report, such as your application for a loan (known as a credit enquiry), or when information reaches its expiry date and is removed from your report, such as an overdue-debt that has reached its expiry date.
When you sign up to an Equifax annual subscription package that includes the Score Tracker tool, your Equifax Score will be generated every month and reflect the information that is in your credit file at that time.
How do I track my Equifax Score?
Score Tracker is a valuable tool that tracks your Equifax Score over time, so you can take steps to improve your Equifax Score if needed, and determine the best time to put in your application for credit.
When you sign up to an Equifax Plus or Equifax Premium subscription package, we’ll generate an Equifax Score monthly which you will receive together with a graph that charts your score. You’ll also receive information regarding what items on your credit report contributed to your score at that point in time.
It’s important to note that when a credit provider is assessing an application for credit, the Equifax credit score they receive is calculated at the time they do their enquiry and may be different from the Equifax Score that you receive. Credit scores are dynamic and can change depending on when the score is generated and in what circumstances it is requested. By monitoring your Equifax Score over time, you’ll see how your Equifax Score changes depending upon the information on your credit report. You’ll also have a better understanding what credit information lenders can see from Equifax to help you know where you stand.
What looks bad on my Credit File?
Can shopping around for credit impact my credit report?
Every time you apply for credit and a credit provider obtains a copy of your report, an enquiry is added to your credit report. This can include any loan, mortgage or utilities applications you may make. Credit providers may take a negative view of a relatively high number of enquiries made in a short space of time, which may in turn affect your ability to obtain credit.
However, the number of enquiries recorded on your credit report is just one piece of information a lender may consider when assessing your application for credit. Lenders look at a variety of information on your application form, if you are existing customer as well as your credit report to assess your application.
Can paying my phone or electricity bill late impact my credit file?
Yes, it can. Under the Privacy Act 1988, an overdue debt can be listed on your consumer credit report when it is overdue by 60 days or more, when the debt is at least $150. Please note that information about whether your have paid your account on time each month or not cannot be listed by a telco or utility provider as they are not a licensed credit providers, unless you are 60 days or more overdue.
Before listing a default, the credit provider must have sent a written notice seeking payment of the overdue debt and a written notice stating that the default may be listed with a credit reporting body.
Once you’ve paid the overdue debt, the credit provider is required to update the listing on your credit report to 'paid' as soon as is practicable.
If the overdue debt is classified as a serious credit infringement, where you have left or appear to have left your last known address, the credit provider must first have listed a default and must have had no contact with you for the preceding 6 months.
The legislation does not place obligations on credit providers with respect to commercial credit defaults which means the obligations relating to consumer defaults and serious credit infringements does not apply to commercial defaults and clearouts.
If I do not pay the minimum balance on my credit card each month will this impact my credit report?
Yes, it can. From 12 March 2014 repayment history information, such as if you make your credit card and loan repayments on time, can be held on your credit report. Whilst one late repayment, depending upon how late it was, followed by making your repayments on time, may not significantly impact your credit worthiness, a number of late payments could be an indication you are in financial stress and may negatively impact your credit report.
What to do if you can’t pay your bills or meet financial repayments?
If you can’t meet your financial commitments, it’s important that you act quickly. Firstly, talk to your credit providers and find out if they’ve got procedures in place to help borrowers experiencing financial hardship. If you talk to them before you default, you may avoid having an overdue debt listed on your credit report.
If you need financial advice or legal counselling, there are a number of free services offered by community organisations, community legal centres and some government agencies that may be of help.
ASIC MoneySmart also provides information about managing debt on their website.
If I am refused credit, will it impact my credit report?
If you’ve been declined for credit by one credit provider and you continue to make a number of applications, the resulting enquiries on your credit report can negatively affect your chances of obtaining credit in the future.
Information on when an account is open and closed can also be held on your credit report. This, together with your repayment history, can help lenders get a clearer picture on your credit obligations and may be taken into account by some lenders in their assessment of a credit application you make, along with other lending criteria.
If you’ve been refused credit, you have a right to obtain your consumer credit information free of charge within 90 days of being declined credit. ASIC MoneySmart also provides information to help if you have been rejected for a loan.
Who can access my Credit File?
Access to your credit file is governed the Privacy Act 1988 (the Act). This legislation prescribes to whom, and for what purpose, a credit reporting agency can disclose information held in your consumer credit file. The Australian Privacy Principles of the Act governs other types of personal information held by organisations, including Equifax.
In certain circumstances, Equifax can disclose information in your credit information file (consumer credit) to various organisations, such as:
- Credit providers
- Mortgage insurers
- Trade insurers
- Authorised agents acting on your behalf.
In addition to the above, and subject to certain requirements, commercial credit and public-record information can also be disclosed to organisations that deal with commercial credit-related activities and collect commercial credit debts.
Can I have information removed from my Credit File?
If the entire listing is incorrect, such as an overdue debt that is inadvertently listed on your credit report by a credit provider e.g. the debt is statute barred, Equifax, after investigating your complaint or on the advice of the credit provider, will remove the listing.
In addition, there are certain circumstances when you can request information be deleted from your file, these are:
- When a default listed on the consumer portion of your credit report has subsequently become statute barred.
- When there is a default listing and you have entered a new arrangement with the relevant credit provider and a credit provider and the default listed on the consumer portion of your credit report was the result of an unavoidable error such as a natural disaster or bank error.
Equifax will investigate and remove the default information if the debt has become statute barred or the listing was a result of unavoidable circumstances and you have entered into a new arrangement with the credit provider.
How long does information stay on my Credit File?
This all depends on the type of data. Identity information including your name, date of birth, gender, driver’s licence and address history is held for the life of the credit report. For other information on your credit report, here are some of the typical timeframes.
Repayment history information
Any credit enquiry
Overdue accounts listed as a payment default
Overdue accounts listed as clearouts
Writs and summons
Overdue accounts listed as a serious credit infringement
For some information the timeframe will vary
- Information about consumer credit accounts you have with credit providers (known as consumer credit liability information). This information can be held for 2 years after the account has been terminated or ceases to exist. This means that the account information will remain on file for the length of the loan plus 2 years.
- Similarly, if you are bankrupt, have a debt agreement or personal insolvency the length of time this information remains on file could vary depending upon when the bankruptcy, debt agreement or personal insolvency agreement was entered into and when it ends.
At Equifax, we automatically delete information from your credit report on or just before its expiry date, calculated using the retention periods set out in the Privacy Act.
I've never applied for credit. Do I have a Credit File?
We’ll create a credit file when we first receive information about you, such as an enquiry made to a credit provider, a business directorship, or default judgement information.
Remember, banks and financial institutions are not the only providers of credit. Any company that provides payment terms of at least seven days may also be a credit provider, including mobile phone, electricity and gas companies. These companies may access your credit file with your knowledge, as part of assessing your request for a particular service. You can get a copy of your credit report for free. We also have a range of annual subscription packages to get you a copy of your Equifax credit report, your Equifax Score and other features such as credit and identity monitoring.
How often is a Credit File updated?
Your consumer credit report can be updated on a monthly basis with account repayment information such as if you have paid a credit card, or other personal credit, on time. If it has not been paid on time this will also be recorded. Your credit report may also be updated whenever you apply for credit, open or close an account, change your credit limit or agree to act as a guarantor for someone else. Credit providers may also update your report when they list any overdue debts you may have incurred and we may also add certain information obtained from third parties, such as default judgments, court writs and Bankruptcy Act information.
What's on my Credit File?
What can be in the consumer-credit section of a credit file?
- Loan enquiries made in the past five years for household, personal or family purposes or to purchase, re-finance or renovate a residential investment property, or where you have gone guarantor for someone else with respect to consumer credit
- Details of any debts including serious credit infringements and debts that are overdue by 60 days or more
The following information can also be included in credit reports:
- Credit account information including:
- Type of credit account such as a credit card or personal loan
- Account open date and close dates
- Credit limit. This is the maximum amount of credit available to you for an account. If you accept a credit limit increase the new credit limit could be included on your credit history.
- Monthly repayment history on credit accounts such as mortgages and credit cards. This will reflect whether you paid the minimum amount required on your financial commitments each month on time or not.
What can be in the commercial-credit section of a credit report?
- Enquiries relating to commercial credit or risk management. Generally speaking, these enquiries relate to you as a sole trader, business partner, property investor or director of a company
- Details of any overdue commercial credit accounts owed by you, or where you have gone guarantor
- The names of credit providers currently providing loans to you
- Enquiries made by a third party such as a finance broker or other authorised agent acting on your behalf
- Notes regarding matters under investigation, or previous investigations where no amendment was made to your credit file and you requested a note be added to your file
Public record information
Public record information includes things like bankruptcy, insolvency, debt agreements, court writs and judgements. When you get a copy of your credit report this information will form part of the consumer credit section of the report.
How is my Equifax Score calculated?
Your Equifax Score is calculated based on the information held in your credit report at a given point in time. It is a number between 0-1200 and in simple terms, a higher credit score is considered better as it indicates lower risk. Your Equifax Score is dynamic and will change as information is added to and deleted from your credit report.
If you've got a low Equifax Score, your credit applications may only be approved by lenders that charge a much higher interest rate or you may have difficulty gaining access to credit at all.
There are a number of key contributing factors that are taken into consideration when generating your Equifax Score:
Type of credit provider
The type of credit provider making an enquiry on your credit report may impact your Equifax Score. E.g. there may be different levels of risk associated with approaching a bank, store finance provider, hire-purchase and utility company for credit.
What’s more, research shows that there’s a different level of risk associated with lenders in particular industries. E.g. a non-traditional lender may have a different level of risk than a bank or credit union.
The type and size of credit requested in your application
Both the type of credit and size of the loan or credit limit you have applied for in the past can have an impact on your Equifax Score. E.g. mortgages, credit cards, personal loans and store finance may carry different levels of risk.
Number of credit enquiries and shopping patterns
Every time you apply for credit and a credit provider obtains a copy of your report, an enquiry is added to your credit report. This can include any loan, mortgage or utilities applications you may make.
Shopping around for credit and applying to a number of different credit providers within a short space of time may negatively impact your Equifax Score. It flags you as a greater risk than infrequent applications for credit with a few credit providers.
Directorship and proprietorship information
Directorship and proprietorship information on a credit report may impact your Equifax Score. If you’re a director or a proprietor it’s important to check the individual and commercial sections of your credit report.
Age of credit report
The date your credit report was created may impact your Equifax Score. E.g. a relatively new file may indicate a different level of risk than an older report.
Pattern of credit enquiries over time
The spread of activity over the credit report’s life to date can have an impact on your Equifax Score. E.g. a relatively new credit file with many enquiries may represent a different level of risk than an older file with only a few credit enquiries.
Your Equifax Score takes into consideration personal details such as age, length of employment and length of time at your current residential address to assess risk.
Default information in your personal or business credit report such as overdue debts, serious credit infringements or clearouts may negatively impact your Equifax Score, while a lack of default information in your file may positively affect your score.
Court writs and default judgements
A court writ or default judgement on a credit report is an indicator of increased risk and may negatively impact your Equifax Score. Conversely, a lack of court writ or default judgement information would indicate a reduced level of risk.
Commercial address information
Information such as location and the length of time you have resided at your current business address is a measure of stability and may impact your Equifax Score.
How is my Equifax Score displayed?
Your Equifax Score is displayed as a number as well as a percentile range, showing where your Equifax Score sits in relation to other credit-active Australians held in our credit reporting database. Our Equifax Scores (which you’re compared to) are reviewed regularly, and the algorithm adjusted where necessary to account for population and economic changes. To provide you with an understanding of where your score sits compared to others, we use a risk grade:
- Below Average (Bottom 20%) - Based on history, scores in this category indicate that an adverse event such as a default, court judgement, personal insolvency or similar, is more likely to be recorded on a credit file in the next 12 months when compared to the average credit active Australian population as recorded on Equifax’s credit bureau.
- Average (21% - 40%) - Based on history, scores in this category indicate that an adverse event such as a default, court judgement, personal insolvency or similar, is likely to be recorded on a credit file in the next 12 months when compared to the average credit active Australian population as recorded on Equifax’s credit bureau.
- Good (41% - 60%) - Based on history, scores in this category indicate that an adverse event such as a default, court judgement, personal insolvency or similar, is less likely to be recorded on a credit file in the next 12 months when compared to the average credit active Australian population as recorded on Equifax’s credit bureau. In other words, the odds of no adverse events occurring on your credit file in the next 12 months are better than the average population odds. Hence this score has been classed as the good population grade.
- Very Good (61% - 80%) - Based on history, scores in this category indicate that an adverse event such as a default, court judgement, personal insolvency or similar, is unlikely to be recorded on a credit file in the next 12 months when compared to the average credit active Australian population as recorded on Equifax’s credit bureau. In other words, the odds of no adverse events occurring on your credit file in the next 12 months are more than 2 times better than the average population odds. Hence this score has been classed as the very good population grade.
- Excellent (81% - 100%) - Based on history, scores in this category indicate that an adverse event such as a default, court judgement, personal insolvency or similar, is highly unlikely to be recorded on a credit file in the next 12 months when compared to the average credit active Australian population as recorded on Equifax’s credit bureau. In other words, the odds of no adverse events occurring on your credit file in the next 12 months are more than 5 times better than the average population odds. Hence this score has been classed as the excellent population grade.
The way your Equifax Score is used in practice by credit providers may differ to the way we display it in your Equifax Credit & Identity portal. In addition to your Equifax Score, each provider applies their own lending criteria and policies, which is why some lenders may approve your application for credit while others may not.
If you’re curious about what your Equifax Score is and how you compare to others, check out our annual subscription packages today. If you would like a copy of your free Equifax credit report you can find more information here.
Does ordering a copy of my credit report impact my Equifax Score?
Ordering a copy of your Equifax credit file, will not negatively impact your Equifax Score. In fact, it may help you improve your score by identifying whether information needs correcting on your credit report or if you’ve been the victim of identity theft. If this is the case, you can contact the credit provider for more information and, if necessary, seek an investigation.
To find out what your Equifax Score is, as well as track it over time sign up to our Equifax Plus or Equifax Basic annual subscription packages.
If you would like your free Equifax credit report you can get a copy here. Note, your free credit report does not include your Equifax Score.
How do I understand my Equifax Score?
Your Equifax Score is an important number that summarises the information in your Credit File at a point in time and is expressed as a number between 0 and 1200. Your Equifax Score is dynamic and will change as information is added to and deleted from your credit report. In simple terms, the higher your Equifax Score, the better your credit profile which is an indication that you may be more likely to be accepted for credit.
If you’ve got a low Equifax Score, your credit applications may only be approved by lenders that charge a much higher interest rate or you may have difficulty gaining access to credit at all.
When you receive your Equifax Score as part of an Equifax Credit & Identity annual subsciption package, you’ll also receive a list of score factors – things that have influenced your score. This can give some insight into what you’re doing well and what areas might need some work, so you can improve your score over time.
You can also get a copy of your free Equifax credit report here. Note this does not include an Equifax Score.
What is my Equifax Score?
Knowing your Equifax credit score may help you negotiate a better rate with some lenders. If you're applying for credit, or are planning to in the future, it's important to understand your Equifax Score.
Your Equifax Score is dynamic and predicts the likelihood of an adverse event, like a default, being recorded on a credit report within the next 12 months. Your Equifax Score shows where you sit in relation to other credit-active Australians in our credit-reporting database. This may be used by lenders as part of the credit assessment process; however, lenders will also use their own criteria and policies when assessing your application not only your Equifax Score.