The PA 1988 (s 20N) and the CR Code require that only permitted, accurate, up-to-date and complete information is included on a person’s credit report.
The changes made to Australia’s credit-reporting system in 2018 have expanded what information can be included in a credit report and what information about your credit history can be accessed by credit providers.
The information that can now be included on a credit report includes:
• Consumer credit liability information: This includes information about loans and items purchased on credit (e.g. a home loan or an electricity account). The credit report could include the credit limit of the account and the repayments made. This information stays on a credit report while the loan is open, and for two years after the loan has been repaid.
• Credit application information: This includes details of loans a person has applied for, as well as anything the person has bought or attempted to buy on credit. The credit report shows whether or not the loan or purchase was approved.
• Loan repayment information: A credit report can – on a monthly basis – include information about what loan repayments have been made on time. After 24 months, this information is removed from a credit report (for more information, see “Repayment history”).
• Default information: This is a record of payments that are at least 60 days overdue. The credit provider must have tried to get the payments. Default information is removed from a credit report after five years (for more information, see “Default listings”).
• Court proceedings and judgments: A person’s credit report will show if a court has made a judgement against the person in relation to any unpaid loans or credit. This information stays on a credit report for five years from the date the judgement was given.
• Bankruptcy information: A credit report includes information about personal insolvency, including bankruptcy. Other insolvency information included on a credit report includes information about debt agreements and personal insolvency agreements. This information stays on a credit report for at least five years.
• Serious credit infringement information: This is where a credit provider or other business thinks a person has obtained credit fraudulently, or is trying to avoid repaying money owed. A serious credit infringement stays on a credit report for seven years.
A default listing shows that a payment is overdue (s 6Q PA Act; s 9 CR 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 has given these two notices to the debtor:
1 a notice requesting payment (s 6Q PA 1988); and
2 a notice of intention to disclose the default (s 21D(3)(d)).
A credit provider is required to send these two notices to your last known address; this might involve:
• sending the notices via post to a physical address (e.g. your last known place of residence); or
• sending the notices electronically to your email address.
It is your responsibility to ensure that credit providers have your current address.
Only certain credit providers (e.g. banks) are able to report or access repayment history information. Credit providers can see a 24-month history of loan repayments.
Phone, gas and electricity providers are generally not able to report or access repayment information. However, utilities providers can report a payment that is at least 60 days late.