We’ve covered a lot of ground in our series on how the Australian Credit system works – the assessment process, how loan and credit card applications can impact credit scores, and a look at some of the upcoming changes to credit reporting.

So – what are some of the key takeaways for you?

Disclaimer: This guide was written by Paul Abbey, Chief Risk Officer of MoneyPlace. Money Place AFSL Ltd holds Australian Credit Licence number 466327. No commercial consideration has been given between Point Hacks and MoneyPlace for the inclusion of this content on the Point Hacks website.

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Key tips for managing your credit

Always pay your credit bill/loans on time

Always. Direct debit is a great option to remove the chore of remembering. As positive credit reporting becomes more commonplace, that repayment behaviour will be shared with other credit providers and as expected, late repayments aren’t going to look good

Check your details with the CRBS

Regularly check the details held by the Credit Reporting Bodies Veda, D&B and Experian. Consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit file once a year and it is vital to check the accuracy of the information. The report will list all credit enquiries, current/past addresses, any defaults/bankruptcies and in some cases positive reporting data too

Correct errors on your report

If there are errors on the report, you can contact the credit provider that was responsible, or the Credit Reporting Body. Remember that the contribution of data to the three CRBs isn’t consistent so you will likely find differences in reported information and scores. E.g. A phone company may provide data to D&B, but not Veda or Experian.

A bigger concern is if you’re the victim of fraud or an ID takeover, which is becoming increasingly common. It is possible to place a ‘file ban’ on your information at the CRBs to protect your data. This means the CRB cannot release information they hold on a consumer to the credit provider for a short period of time – the CRB will also notify the consumer of any attempt to obtain information. Should you ever find yourself the victim of fraud, particularly an ID takeover this is a great tool.

Be accurate in your applications

Always be accurate filling the forms in. If lenders see inconsistencies in the information provided it leads to the question “what else is missing?” It is relatively common for people to “forget” to include their kids on application forms!

Consider your credit needs across all type of loans

With the limitations in the credit reporting system today only applying for credit that is needed – or at least are happy to accept another enquiry on their credit file – remains a key factor. It may not make sense to apply for a credit card with a great points offer if a home loan refinance is coming up soon.

Be realistic with credit limits. If a consumer holds 5 credit cards with combined limits of $110k don’t be surprised if a prospective new credit provider asks the consumer to close some credit lines down!

More and more credit providers are now tracking who has had point sign-on bonuses in the past. This can sometimes exclude people from new sign-on offers for a period of time.

Get help if you need it

Sometimes, things don’t go to plan – if a consumer finds themselves in financial difficulty, all credit providers have hardship assistance programs to help people through tough times. Reach out and speak to them early if this is the case.

Summing up

I hope that this series has helped shed some light on the mechanics of how the credit system works in Australia, let me know if there are any questions/topics you’ve got and hopefully we can cover them too!

How Credit Works Series

Managing your credit – our key tips was last modified: March 25th, 2022 by Paul Abbey