What Do Lenders See On Your Credit Report?
Often shrouded in mystery, your credit report is more than just a number or score. It's a detailed snapshot of your financial behaviour and history, and it provides lenders with important clues about your creditworthiness and ability to repay debt.
Whether you're a seasoned borrower or new to the world of credit, understanding your credit report is crucial to managing your financial health.
In this article, we'll pull back the curtain and break down what information is on your credit report and how lenders in Australia use it.
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First things first: What is a credit report?
A credit report is a detailed document of your credit history and creditworthiness as a potential borrower. If you ever apply for finance, such as a personal loan or credit card, the lender will almost certainly look at your credit report when assessing your application.
A better credit report with a reliable history and higher credit score means they will be more likely to approve your application.
What can lenders see on your credit report?
Available from multiple credit reporting bodies (see further down), your credit report will contain the following information:
Your credit score
Generally ranging from 0 to 1,200, your credit score is a significant number. Also known as a credit rating, your credit score is calculated based on your borrowing history from other credit providers and can act as a numerical representation of your creditworthiness.
A low credit score can make it harder to obtain finance.
Some personal information, such as your name, date of birth, and address, is on your credit report. Your credit file also contains your employment history information and current employment status.
It does not include your income, level of education, or marital status. With this information, credit reporting agencies can maintain accuracy across credit reports to help protect against malicious activity like identity theft.
Your repayment history
A major influence on your credit score is your repayment history information. According to Experian, as much as 35% of your credit score is comprised of your repayment history, both good and bad.
Credit and loan applications
In Australia, every time you apply for credit or a loan, the lender makes a record of this application (known as a 'credit enquiry') and appears on your credit report. This includes applications for personal loans, credit cards, car loans, home loans, student loans, and other credit accounts.
|‘Soft’ credit checks||‘Hard’ credit checks|
|A soft credit check (also known as a "credit score check") does not impact your credit score.|
Soft credit checks are typically used when you check your own credit score or when a lender or credit provider pre-approves you for a credit product. They are not recorded on your credit report or visible to other lenders.
|A hard credit check, or credit enquiry, is when a lender or credit provider requests a copy of your credit report in order to assess your creditworthiness.|
This type of credit check can impact your credit score, as it is recorded on your credit report and can be seen by other lenders when you apply for credit in the future.
Defaults and other infringements
Defaults appear on your credit report when a payment of $150 or more is overdue by 60 days or more. This information can stay on your report for up to five years or more, even if you’ve subsequently paid the outstanding amount.
Serious credit infringements can also be listed, for example, if the credit provider hasn't been able to contact you for six months or more and believes you are avoiding repayment.
If you experience financial hardship and cannot make repayments, your lender may agree to vary the terms of your contract (like reducing or postponing your payments).
In this case, a note may be added to your credit report stating that you have entered into a new arrangement due to hardship.
Bankruptcies and court readings
Defaults are not the only infringements lenders can see on your credit report. Potential lenders can view bankruptcies, court readings, and personal insolvencies you may have filed for.
See Credit Smart for more information on how financial hardships are included in your credit report.
Do all lenders see the same report?
Not all lenders will necessarily see the same credit report when you apply for a loan or credit product. This is because Australia has several credit reporting bodies (CRBs), also called credit bureaus or agencies, that collect and store your credit reports and all associated information.
In most cases, lenders will partner with just one CRB over another, using that as their basis for assessing an applicant’s creditworthiness. While the specifics of your credit report may vary between them, the general picture of your creditworthiness will be relatively consistent overall.
Who are the credit reporting bodies in Australia?
Australia has three main credit rating agencies, although there are other smaller ones:
They will calculate a score using their own internal formula (each is different) and share this with a credit provider when requested. Here’s what these different credit score ranges currently look like based on Equifax’s categories:
How can I find my credit report?
Regularly checking your credit reports helps keep you informed about your credit score and ensures that all information listed is accurate. Notably, there's no need to worry that checking your own credit report will affect your credit score – that's a myth! Lenders can’t see how often you check your credit report, so reviewing it at least once a year is good practice.
You can freely obtain your credit report from the big three credit reporting bodies in Australia - Equifax, Experian, and Illion. However, there are also several smaller agencies and third-party services, like Talefin, CreditSavvy, and ClearScore, from which you can also request a copy.
While you can access your credit report free of charge every three months, doing so more often might incur charges. That said, you can generally check your credit score as often as you wish without cost.
Accessing your credit score is typically instant, whereas obtaining your full credit report online or via email might take a few business days. So, when you're ready to check your credit report, make sure you have a way to verify your identity readily available, like your driver's license or Medicare card.
How is Comprehensive Credit Reporting different?
Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR) has significantly changed what some lenders can see on your credit report. CCR offers a more ‘balanced’ view of a borrower’s credit behaviour by including positive as well as negative credit information.
Lenders who aren’t a part of the CCR regime operate under negative credit reporting. This means they only share negative information with Credit Bureaus, such as defaults, late payments, bankruptcies, and court judgements.
Negative reporting meant lenders were making decisions based primarily on adverse events. But with CCR, credit reports now include a host of positive information that can help offset any negative marks on your report like:
- Repayment history of accounts (credit cards, bills, loans etc.)
- Types of credit accounts opened in the last two years (including Buy Now, Pay Later)
- The dates you applied for, opened, and closed credit accounts.
- The current limits on your credit products and more
Thanks to CCR, consumers who consistently make repayments on time are more likely to reflect this positive behaviour in their credit reports.
Which lenders have Comprehensive Credit Reporting?
According to Credit Smart, more than 80 lenders and credit providers across Australia provide positive credit information via CCR.
Does Jacaranda use Comprehensive Credit Reporting?
Jacaranda Finance does, in fact, report data under the CCR regime.
This is yet another way we could help build your creditworthiness: by applying for and repaying one of our loans on time, your credit score could increase faster than ever.
Does applying for loans hurt your credit score?
Applying for a loan often does impact your credit score in Australia. When you apply, a lender or credit provider will likely conduct a hard credit check automatically as part of their application process, resulting in a credit enquiry appearing on your credit report.
While making an application here and there generally won’t impact your credit score, doing so too often could result in it dropping.
QualifyCheck by Jacaranda
Jacaranda does things a bit differently. We think allowing you to check if you qualify for one of our products without impacting your credit history is fair.
Thanks to our QualifyCheck feature, you can do just that.
When you check if you qualify, we can access your credit file in a way that does not impact your credit score, and that is not disclosed to anyone other than yourself. You will get a notification if you have alerts set up on your credit file. This is called 'file access', and is different to a 'full credit enquiry'.
Apply and start improving your credit score today
By applying for one of our fast, affordable online loans and meeting your repayments accordingly, you could steadily improve your credit score thanks to Comprehensive Credit Reporting. We’ll show this positive information on your credit report to help you build your credit and become the new financial you.
Click the button below to get started on an application. Remember: you can check if you qualify first without impacting your credit score at all!
You can get in touch with William via email@example.com.