If you’re considering applying for a loan it’s always a good idea to get a copy of your credit report first to make sure there are no nasty surprises that could hinder your application.
In fact, it pays to check your credit report every year. “As well as affecting your ability to get credit, incorrect listings can alert you to things like identity theft, where other people use your personal information for financial gain,” says the Australian Securities & Investments Commission consumer website moneysmart.gov.au.
The good news is getting a copy of your credit report is fairly straightforward and doesn’t have to cost you a cent. You are entitled to check your credit report at no cost once every 12 months. You can also ask for a free report if an application for credit was declined in the past three months but
the request must be made within 90 days from the date your application was declined. You may also be able to get a free copy if you have lodged a correction request and have been advised that information on your file has been corrected. That way you can check the correction was made.
There are three main agencies in Australia – Equifax, Experian and Dun & Bradstreet – and you’ll need to get in touch with them for a copy.
They each have a different process but you can expect to get your free report delivered within 10 days of applying. If you need it any earlier than that you will have to pay for the service.
Equifax: You can order a free copy of your credit file by calling 138 332 and following the prompts or online at mycreditfile.com.au. You can also mail your request to Equifax, GPO Box 964, North Sydney, NSW 2059.
Experian: Visit experian.com.au to find details about how to apply. You’ll need to complete a form and send it back, with identification documents. You can email the form to firstname.lastname@example.org or post it to Experian Australia Credit Services, Att: Consumer Support Team, GPO Box 1969, North Sydney, NSW 2060.
Dun & Bradstreet: You can apply online at checkyourcredit.com.au. There is also an application form you can mail in. You can find it under the “FAQ” section under the question: How do I obtain a copy of my personal credit report? You will need to provide documents to verify your identity.
Once you get a copy of your report make sure the information in it is accurate. If you find any mistakes on your file, make sure you notify the credit reporting agency. You may also need to get in touch with a credit provider.
If there are any loans on your report that are not yours, it may be a simple mistake but there is a chance someone else is using your identity to get credit.