Only certain information is allowed to be included on a credit report; this includes:
• details of credit applications made to credit providers;
• information about current credit contracts (called “consumer credit liability information” (s 6(1) PA 1988));
• repayment history information;
• defaults (overdue payments);
• serious credit infringements (including fraudulently obtaining consumer credit, or fraudulently evading obligations under a consumer credit contract) (see s 6(1) PA 1988; s 12 Privacy Code);
• court judgments; and
The PA 1988 (s 20N) and the Privacy Code require that only permitted, accurate, up-to-date and complete information is included on a person’s credit report.
It is an offence for a credit-reporting body to use or disclose credit-reporting information that is “false or misleading in a material particular” (s 20P).
A default listing shows that a payment is overdue (s 6Q PA Act; s 9 Privacy Code), where:
• the payment is more than 60 days overdue;
• the overdue amount is greater than $150 (or a higher amount if prescribed by the Privacy Regulation).
A credit provider can make a default listing on a credit file if the credit provider gave these two notices to the debtor:
1 a notice requesting payment (s 6Q PA 1988);
2 a notice of intention to disclose the default (s 21D(3)(d) PA 1988);
and the provider is not prevented by a statute of limitations from recovering the overdue payment.
Repayment history information is a listing showing that a monthly payment is late or unpaid. It is defined (in s 6V PA 1988; s 8 Privacy Code) as information about:
• whether or not an individual has met an obligation to make a monthly payment that is due and payable in relation to consumer credit;
• the day the monthly payment is due and payable;
• if a late payment is made, the day on which the individual makes that payment.
The listing is a series of numbers between one and seven that represent whether a monthly payment has been made, and if not, how far overdue the payment is.
Importantly, repayment history information only includes consumer credit contracts covered by the National Credit Code (e.g. credit cards, personal loans and home loans) and not other types of credit (e.g. telecommunication and utilities accounts).