How to Get a Copy of Your Credit Report
One of the most important preparations to make before applying for a loan is reviewing your credit report—the detailed statement of your credit history that lenders use as the main basis for approving or rejecting your loan application.
Knowing the information in your credit report helps you understand the factors that affect your credit score and what you can do to improve them. It also makes you aware of your credit standing and how much interest rate you can take based on your credit score, giving you a stronger position on the negotiation table.
Accessing Your Credit Report
Your credit report is maintained by a credit reporting bureau (CRB). In Australia, the major CRBs include Equifax, Experian and illion (formerly Dun & Bradstreet). Each of these agencies creates their credit report of you based on the information they receive from your previous creditors and public court records.
When you apply for a loan, lenders review your credit report before deciding to grant you the loan and on what interest rate and loan terms if approved. While they pay to access your credit information, you are entitled to a free copy under the following circumstances:
- Annually, upon request
- If you have been refused a loan within the past 90 days
- You want to check your updated credit report after some personal information has been corrected
Other than these circumstances, you can request a copy for a minimal fee without limitation.
Once you’ve made the request, the CRBs should send your credit report within 10 days. Generally, however, it only takes one to three business days for these agencies to provide your report after verifying your identity. You can also pay for a 1-day turnaround if you want to get your credit report faster.
Requesting a Copy
You can conveniently request a copy of your credit report online or through email or postal mail.
CRBs usually do not share information so your credit report may vary slightly from one agency to another. If you want to make a thorough review of your credit score, it is best to request a separate copy from each CRB.
Online Submission Form: My Credit File
Hotline: 13 8332
Mail: GPO Box 964, North Sydney, NSW 2059
Before providing your credit report, Equifax verifies your identity based on some personal information, including:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Driver’s licence number
- Current residential address
- Previous addresses
- Current employer or a previous employer if unemployed
- Name of the organisation you last applied for a loan
Hotline: 1300 783 684
Experian Australia Credit Services Pty Ltd
Attention: Consumer Support Team
GPO Box 1969
North Sydney NSW 2060
Experian can send your credit report by email or postal mail. For verification, you need to provide clear and legible copies of your passport or other identity documents, as well as supporting documents like credit card and bank or credit card statements.
Send these documents along with a completed Experian Credit Report Request Form at the aforementioned email or mailing address.
Experian categorises the required identification documents into three groups as follows:
- Driver’s licence issued by an Australian State or Territory
- Roads and Maritime Services photo card
- Licence or permit issued under a law of the Commonwealth, a State or Territory Government
- Government-issued proof of age card
- Government-issued public employee photo ID
- Any ID card issued by the Commonwealth, a State or Territory Government as evidence of your entitlement to financial benefits
- Medicare card
- Centrelink card
- Department of Veteran’s Affairs card
- Credit card or account card issued by a financial institution in Australia
- Foreign or international driver’s licence
- Australian tertiary education institution photo ID
- Working with children or teacher’s registration Card
- Motor vehicle registration or insurance papers
- Property rates notice
- Home insurance papers
- Property lease agreement
- Utility bills
- Bank or credit card statements with your current residential address
You can either submit one ID document from each group or one document from Group A and 3 documents from Group C.
If you are requesting your credit report by email, do not forget to include a contact phone number. The electronic copies of your ID documents should also be in PDF, jpeg, png or gif format and must no larger than 2MB in size.
Website: illion Credit Check
Mail: illion Public Access Centre, PO Box 7405. St Kilda Rd Melbourne VIC 3004
illion encourages borrowers like you to register on its website to access your credit report. Alternatively, you can request a hard copy by mailing a completed Application for Personal Credit Report form along with copies of your driver’s licence, passport or birth certificate and most recent utility bills or bank statements.
Does Checking Your Credit Report Affects Your Credit Score?
Any access to your credit report is recorded and classified as a “hard inquiry” or a “soft inquiry”.
A hard inquiry is when a potential lender checks your credit profile after you apply for a loan. This harms your credit score because it suggests that you’re having a financial emergency.
The more hard inquiries are made against your credit report, the worse your credit score becomes.
- They can add up to numerous new accounts, which suggest that you’re having trouble paying bills or are at risk of overspending.
- They stay on your credit report for two years although their impact lessens over time.
A soft inquiry, on the other hand, is when you check your credit profile or when lenders, insurance companies or credit card companies check your credit profile to pre-approve you for offers. Because this action is not linked to a specific application for new credit, it has no bearing on your credit score.
Soft inquiries are only visible to you, with a few exceptions:
- Insurance companies can see other insurance company inquiries.
- Inquiries by debt settlement companies that you have authorized to access your report may be shared with your current creditors.
Once You Have Your Credit Report…
Review all the information it contained and verify the accuracy of the details, especially the factors that greatly affect your credit score.
Your credit report should include information about your identity, credit account and inquiries made. It should also include records of bankruptcy and collection accounts if any.
Personal information includes your name, date of birth, Social Security number and address. This information is not used to calculate your credit score.
Credit account information is heavily factored in when calculating your credit score. This information includes your account balance, payment history, types of account, date of account opening, total credit limit, loan amount. Whether or not you made on-time payments, defaulted on your previous loans or filed for bankruptcy are also recorded. Bankruptcy, in particular, stays on your credit report for up to 10 years.
Collection accounts include past-due accounts that have been turned over to a collection agency, as well as your credit accounts and collection records from hospitals, banks, retail stores, and mobile phone providers.
When reviewing your credit report, make sure to check your personal information for typos, errors and false reports. Is your Social Security number correct? Do you have on-time payments that have been marked late? Does your old bankruptcy record from 15 years ago still show up?
You can file for a dispute against this erroneous information. The CRB will review your case and get back to you within 30 days. When your dispute is successful, the CRB will remove the information from your credit report, causing a significant improvement in your credit score.
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