Getting a free copy of your credit report is easier than you think!
Everyone is entitled to a free copy of their own credit report so here are some directions as to how to make that happen! Please note: The following information is meant as a guide and may not contain all the information that is relevant to your particular situation.
Who keeps your credit report and why?
Credit reporting bodies are private companies which provide a service to businesses who lend money or provide services, such as phone and electricity, to consumers. This service involves keeping records about how well you repay your debt; where you have borrowed money; and if you meet all of your bill payments (such as electricity) on time. This information allows a credit provider to assess how well you might repay your debt if you were given a new loan now.
What type of information can be kept about you; for how long; and who can access this information is regulated by The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the Credit Reporting Privacy Code. Another Government body, The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, is responsible for ensuring that these credit reporting bodies follow the Privacy Act and the Credit Reporting Privacy Code.
There are 3 main credit reporting bodies in Australia.
• Veda Advantage (previously known as Baycorp Advantage)
• Dun & Bradstreet, and
• Experian Credit Services Australia.
How often can you get a free report?
The law states that you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the reporting bodies once every 12 months and you must receive this report within 10 days of your application. If you have been refused credit by a credit provider, you can apply for a free copy of your credit report within 90 days of that refusal.
But there are two situations that you need to be aware of where fees may be charged:
- if you have already obtained a report from the same credit-reporting body in the last 12 months, then you may be charged a fee for your report; and
- if you want or need your report sooner than 10 working days (which is postal service delivery), then you are charged a fee but it cannot be excessive (i.e., if you want your report over the internet then you will most likely be charged a fee even if it is the only request you have made to that particular credit reporting body in the last 12 months).
How do I get a copy of my credit report?
Before a credit reporting body will give you your credit report, you will have to provide evidence of your identity. This information usually follows a list like the following but there may be other information that a particular credit reporting body will require to identify you as the person making the request and entitled to the information:
- Full name;
- Date of birth;
- Driver’s licence number;
- Copies of other identification papers such as a driver’s licence, birth certificate or Proof of Age card or other types of recognized documents that have your name and address (e.g.Council rates notice, phone bill, or bank statement);
- Current and previous address;
- Current and/or previous employer or Centrelink identifiction;
- Where and when you last applied for credit; and
- Telephone number where you can be reached during the day.
Apart from getting my credit report, what else could happen when I ask for it?
- Previous lenders, debt collectors, and businesses that you owe money to will be able to get your current address and follow you up for payment of older debts.
- You may find that information is not correct and you can ask the credit reporting body to correct it. For further information about correcting your credit file click here.
How do I make contact with these credit reporting bodies?
Click on this link to find out what you need to do to ask for your report. You can send your completed forms by email to: [email protected] or to their postal address:
Click on this link to find out what you need to do to ask for your report.
Send the letter or form to: Veda Advantage, PO Box 964, North Sydney, NSW 2059, or fax: (02) 9951 7880
Indicate if you would like your file sent to you by post, fax or email.
Dun & Bradstreet
Click on this link to find information about applying for your personal credit report, or phone Dun & Bradstreet directly on 13 23 33 to request an application form.
Send the completed application form to: Dun & Bradstreet, Public Access Centre, PO Box 7405, St Kilda Road VIC 3004.
What if I have problems trying to talk with these credit reporting bodies?
If you are having difficulties dealing with the credit reporting bodies, then you may be able to approach the following for help:
Financial Ombudsman Service – http://fos.org.au/centric/home_page.jsp
Ph: 1300 78 08 08
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) – www.oaic.gov.au
Ph: 1300 363 992