Your credit report can be a valuable asset when you apply for a loan. But we still seem unclear on what goes into a credit report – industry super fund-owned bank ME dispels common credit report myths.
A credit report is like a track record of your credit health. It shows how well you manage credit, and that’s why a lender will look at your credit report when you apply for a home loan, personal loan or credit card.
Maintaining a good credit report may even help you access better deals.
But it seems there’s plenty we’re unsure about when it comes to our personal credit reports.
Here are five things we’re getting wrong.
- Misconception #1 It’s only banks that check out your credit report
Most Australians know their credit report may be checked when they apply for a home loan or personal loan.
However, research by CreditSmart found less than 50% of us know that credit reports are also used by telcos and utility providers when we apply for a new mobile phone contract or open a new gas or electricity account.
- Misconception #2 Your credit report shows only recent loans
Your credit report will show any applications you’ve made for credit over the last five years – even those that weren’t approved. Having an excess number of applications on your file can leave lenders asking questions, so it’s a good idea to keep applications for finance to a minimum.
- Misconception #3 Late loan repayments are the only thing that matter
Along with loan repayments, it pays to stay on top of other bills. Any defaults on your mobile phone contract or utilities bill will also be noted on your credit report.
A default can occur if you miss a payment of $150 or more by 60 days and more – and it will stay on your credit report for five years.
- Misconception #4 Your credit report will negatively affect your job prospects
One in ten of us think a future employer will check out our credit report when we apply for a job. Two in five believe their credit report will be reviewed when they apply for a rental place.
Not so. Access to your credit report is strictly limited. It can't be accessed by a real estate agent when you apply to rent a house, or an insurer when you apply for car or home cover, or by a potential employer when you apply for a job.
- Misconception #5 Traffic fines appear on your credit report
To ensure credit decisions are based on fact, plenty of personal details are left out of your credit report.
Your marital status, annual income, religious beliefs, and even that traffic fine you copped for double parking do not appear on your credit report.
Your credit report says a lot about you, so it's a good idea to get a copy of your credit report annually – it's free. Head to CreditSmart for links to your credit report and tips on keeping your credit report in great shape.
This article is brought to you by ME. For more information, please visit www.mebank.com.au
Members Equity Bank Limited ABN 56 070 887 679 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229500.