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Life can be full of surprises – but there’s at least one you can try to avoid when it comes to negotiating with lenders for anything from a new mobile phone to a home loan.
By knowing your credit score before applying for a new loan or line of credit, you might have a clearer understanding of the hurdles you may have to face – if any – and be able to prepare accordingly.
In fact, ASIC (the Australian Securities and Investments Commission) recommends that you take advantage of a free copy of your credit report, which contains your credit score, every year to make sure it’s correct.1
Credit reporting agencies collect and record the financial and personal information of people who have applied for credit or a loan in the past.
These credit reports are used by lenders to help them determine your ability to repay credit, with your financial reputation summed up by a credit score, or credit rating.
This information is sourced from a range of credit providers, courts and organisations, such as banks, building societies and other businesses that extend credit to customers.
New comprehensive credit reporting was introduced in September 2018 to give a more extensive view of the credit products you hold with major banks and various credit providers.
The information now includes the type of credit products you’ve held in the last two years, your usual repayment amount, how often repayments are made, and if you make them by the due date.
Personal details: date of birth, current and past home addresses, where you work
Details of any loans or credit you’ve applied for
Some infringements, such as overdue bills or loan payments and bankruptcies as far back as seven years
Your personal repayment history
Your credit score is a number calculated based on your credit file, that helps a lender decide how likely you are to meet your financial obligations (your credit worthiness) based on your credit history.
Find out more about credit ratings here.
Your ability to get a loan or credit, as well as potentially the interest rate you’ll pay on it, can hinge on your credit rating. Likewise, it can determine how difficult it will be to do things like open a new phone account.
A credit check forms part of the application process for many types of credit.
You can request a free copy of your credit report once a year from a number of national credit agencies. ASIC’s Moneysmart website lists the online providers that offer a free credit rating.
Your credit score may change as your financial circumstances change. If your record contains errors, you can ask for them to be corrected – importantly, check that all listings on the report have been made by you.
As a profit-for-members fund, QSuper is committed to the financial wellbeing of our members. We provide access to a range of calculators that can help with everything from working out how long it might take to pay of existing debts to seeing how different repayments can affect the length of your loans.
You can also learn more about keeping a good credit rating through QSuper’s FinFit online education program.
If you need personal help, QSuper members can access QInvest2 advisers for guidance and personalised advice so you can be confident in the choices you are making for your future.
1. Source: ASIC’s MoneySmart, accessed 25 September 2019 at www.moneysmart.gov.au/borrowing-and-credit/borrowing-basics/credit-reports
2. QInvest Limited (ABN 35 063 511 580 AFSL 238274) (QInvest) is ultimately owned by the QSuper Board (ABN 32 125 059 006 AFSL 489650) as trustee for QSuper (ABN 60 905 115 063). QInvest is a separate legal entity responsible for the financial services it provides. When you receive personal advice from QInvest, the QSuper Board may pay for some or all the advice fee for advice related to your QSuper benefit. Eligibility conditions and advice fees may apply. Refer to the Financial Services Guide for more information.
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