Getting a hold of your credit report
Your credit report determines a lot about your financial future. It tells lenders what kind of borrower you are, and dictates everything from interest rates to whether you’ll get a mortgage or not. The amazing thing is that most people don’t check their credit reports, even though this can be done for free.
Credit reports are information that track how you spend and repay money, it’s all about you, and to that end it is technically owned by you. You can obtain a report for free from a variety of agencies, and use that information to either improve or reward yourself based on your current performance.
This article is going to describe how to get a credit report for free, and how to improve your credit rating if it isn’t where you want it to be.
What is a credit report?
Your credit report includes things like:
- Credit card debts (including store cards)
- Loans (mortgages, personal, business)
- Mobile phone plans
The idea behind a credit report is that it encompasses all of your debt, reports how often you pay on time, and whether you’ve defaulted or not before – in short it reports whether you’re safe to lend to. The idea behind a credit report is to generally summarize your interactions with various types of credit.
People use credit reports to determine the risk of considering you economically responsible. It’s why it has the power to impact your mortgage, if your credit report indicates you pay late frequently and that you have mountains of credit card debt, you’re a significant credit risk for a large sum like that.
How long does THIS stay on my credit report?
- 4 years
◦ Writs and summons
- 5 years
◦ Court proclamations
◦ Opening a line of credit, credit card, or taking out a personal loan
◦ Payment defaults
- 7 years
Why some people think that they have to pay for credit reports
You may be wondering if credit reports are free, how so many people come to pay for it. The truth is, organisations often use cheap marketing tricks to convince people that it’s better to pay for the report, tricks that include offering free and paid versions (to name just one).
The reality of the differences in quality of reports is that the paid version gets sent to you faster than the free version. That’s it, that’s the extent of the difference that people pay for.
You are absolutely entitled to gain access to your own credit report once every 12 months at no cost to yourself. The full report. That’s it, that’s the truth. Any company that tries to tell you differently is, well, selling something.
Let’s go over how to check the report for free from a variety of agencies.
Dun & Bradstreet (D&B)
Dun & Bradstreet operates CheckYourCredit, another paid/free service to obtain your credit report.
Step 1) Download the form from www.checkyourcredit.com.au/MyAccount/Order/StandardService
Step 2) Register for a free account
Step 3) Scan your ID documents
Step 4) Submit relevant documents and application
Veda operates MyCreditFile, a website that offers both paid and free versions that will allow you to obtain your credit report. Remember what we talked about, and go for the free version.
Email address: [email protected]
Mailing address: PO Box 964
North Sydney, NSW 2059
Step 1) Print the form from www.mycreditfile.com.au/dotAsset/541197.pdf
Step 2) Scan the necessary identification documents to your computer
Step 3) Obtain a piece of mail that displays your address and name
Step 4) Submit the documents and application to Veda
Why you should order your credit reports from multiple agencies
Ordering your credit report from more than one agency ensures that you have a complete amount of information on who has what information about your spending. Banks often check with multiple agencies, you may want to as well.
- Keep an Eye on Those ‘Savings’
- Do You or Your Money Rule?
- 10 Keys to Financial Success
- Debt free, Here’s how, starting in 2020
- What do you actually have to spend per day?
- How to Live within your means, even as they change
- Stop avoiding money and start making it!
- 10 Things I Know Now and Wish I Knew When I Was Younger on Being Financially Free.
- The 50-20-30 Rule
- 10 Tips for Financial Flourishing
Who can access your credit report
People cannot access your report without your consent, so you will be contacted for the most part before some one is able to check up on you. However, be aware, some contracts you sign contain clauses about their ability to check your credit report, so if you’ve signed one it may well provide your consent sufficiently to allow employers to check.
What to do if your credit report looks bad
If you’ve ordered your report and you aren’t liking what you’re seeing, don’t panic. As you saw above, nothing lasts forever on your report (other than your name, SIN, and basic information), so this too shall pass.
Some people have asked the question of whether they’ll be able to improve their credit report, and we’ve assembled a list of suggestions.
- Do not apply for several loans at once, it looks bad
- Look for any errors, report them
◦ These errors can include duplicate entries from the same lender
- Pay bills on time
- Repay outstanding debts and ask that this be listed as paid as soon as it’s complete
Whether these steps will directly improve your credit report now or not, it doesn’t really matter – you’re contributing to a healthier rating in the future. You need to be active in managing your credit reports, and you can do that by simply behaving responsibly.