The chal­lenge:

Maria Bekiaris

Money Magazine Australia - - CONTENTS - Maria Bekiaris

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 cred­itre­port@au.ex­pe­rian.com 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.

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