Checking your credit score is free and relatively easy to do. You can check your credit score for free using the national credit reporting bodies (CRBs) listed on the government website:
- Credit Simple
- Equifax Australia (formerly known as Veda)
- Get Credit Score
Note: Equifax gives 1 free credit report a year and another within 90 days of a rejected credit application. Any other credit reports are subject to their payment plans.
You will have to provide identification information to find out your credit score, but you can do this very quickly and easily and you should be able to get an immediate indication of your credit score.
All of these credit reporting agencies also allow you to check your full credit history by ordering a free copy of your credit report once a year.
To obtain your credit report, you need to be formally identified. You may be asked to provide your full name, address, date of birth, previous address, and/or driver’s licence number. A free credit report will arrive within 10 days of the request, but you can acquire it sooner if you’re willing to pay for it.
Why do you need to check your credit score?
Your credit score is important because it may influence how much credit a lender will give you as a borrower. People with a lower credit score may be viewed by lenders as being a bigger risk of not paying back the money.
If your credit score is good, it shows a lender that you have the ability to meet your financial obligations if they give you a credit card or a loan. A bad credit score could result in you getting charged extra interest or getting knocked back on a loan altogether.
Tim always paid off his debts on time. After moving house, Tim didn’t receive his credit card statements for almost 6 months.
This resulted in him missing some of his payments, and a default was listed on his credit report.
The next time he applied for a loan, Tim had to pay a much higher interest rate. This could’ve been avoided if he’d checked his credit score and listed an error with his bank.
How much does it cost to check your credit rating?
It is free to check your credit rating with the three main credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Dun&Bradstreet, and Experian.
How much does it cost to check your credit report?
You can get a free copy of your credit report within 10 working days from the main credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Dun&Bradstreet, and Experian. You can obtain a free copy once per year. However, it is probably best to check your credit report more often than this.
If you want to get your credit report faster, you can pay upwards of $60 for a 1-day turnaround in accessing your report.
It is important to know that a free copy of your credit report is available. According to Fiona Guthrie, the Executive Director of Financial Counselling Australia (FCA), credit reporting bodies often make it difficult for customers to know that a free check is an option.
The FCA reported a recent website check revealing that the two largest credit reporting agencies in Australia prominently promote access to their fee-based credit reports, but make it much harder to find information about the free option.
“Under the new Credit Reporting Privacy Code, credit reporting agencies must make sure that the free option is as available and easy to access as the fee-based service,” said Ms Guthrie.
According to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, you can get a copy of your credit report for free from a Credit Reporting Body in all of the following circumstances:
- If you have applied for, and been refused credit, within the past 90 days.
- Where your request for access relates to a decision by a CRB or a credit provider to correct information included in your credit report.
- Once a year (not counting the above circumstances).