Check your credit score Check for errors on your credit file
Check how you compare to neighbours
❚ ❚❚Banks, finance companies, utility companies and landlords check people’s credit scores deciding whether to make them a loan, get a mobile phone contract, or rent a house.
Unless you live in a cave without a phone, electricity, or plumbing, you have a credit file, and a credit score.
If you don’t know what your score is, check it for free with Creditsimple.co.nz, an online service run by Dun & Bradstreet.
When Credit Simple launched last year it was a watershed moment.
Most people in this country don’t know their credit scores, which is a result of how hard it used to be to get your credit report and score. Unless you paid, the bureaus made you wait ages.
The day Credit Simple launched, I checked my score. It was mid-700s, which was disappointingly average.
Then, last week, I got an email from Credit Simple suggesting I check again as ASB and Westpac had started providing ‘‘positive’’ information to it.
Credit reporting used to be all negative. Fail to pay a credit card bill on time, and the fact appeared as a dark stain on your credit report.
By contrast, positive reporting involves banks and other companies telling the credit bureaus when you make payments on time.
Apparently, adding positive information to my credit report caused my score to jump by a staggering 200 points.
I didn’t feel pride, even though Credit Simple tells you how you rank against the other residents of your street, and I was number one in my gratifyingly long road. I felt anger.
Credit scores are supposed to show how credit-worthy a person is. They matter. They can be the difference between getting a home loan, or not, or getting the nod from a letting agency, or being told to take a hike. It turns out the old system was scoring me inaccurately.
The same will be true of others, and still will be for many, as ANZ and BNZ haven’t yet embraced positive credit reporting like Kiwibank, ASB and ANZ.
Some of ANZ and BNZ’S customers will be undiscovered unicorns like me. Perhaps unicorns aren’t such rare beasts as we thought.
Unicorns really do exist in the credit industry.