System glitches. Incorrect contact details on file. Mixing up two people’s credit files. They’re all common reasons a creditor may incorrectly list a default on a credit report. While mistakes can happen in any line of work, horror stories abound where people have been refused credit due to erroneous defaults. In fact, as News.com.au reported, a three-figure debt negligently listed by Origin Energy almost cost one couple their home.
And even when listed in error, that default could remain on your credit file for up to five years if undetected. Considering few (if any) reputable lenders will offer finance with no credit check, it’s important to catch incorrectly-listed defaults as quickly as possible.
So what’s the best way to safeguard against mistakes on your credit report?
GET A FREE COPY OF YOUR CREDIT REPORT
By law, every Australian resident with a credit file is entitled to one free copy of their report per year from each credit reporting agency. They include Veda, Dun and Bradstreet, Tasmanian Collection Service and Experian. They will usually dispatch it within ten days of your request.
WHO TO CONTACT
|Credit reporting agencies||Phone number|
PO Box 966, North Sydney NSW 2059
|firstname.lastname@example.org||1300 762 207|
|CheckYourCredit.com.au (Dun and Bradstreet)
PO Box 7405, St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, VIC 3004
|email@example.com||1300 734 806|
|Experian Credit Report
GPO Box 1969, North Sydney, NSW 2060
|firstname.lastname@example.org||1300 783 684|
|Tasmanian Collection Service
GPO Box 814, Hobart TAS 7000
|email@example.com||03 6213 5555|
Be aware that credit reporting agencies may charge a rush fee if you need a copy of your report urgently.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET YOUR REPORT
Knowing your credit score and what’s in your credit report can prompt you to change any incorrect information that might have impacted your score. Incorrect listings can affect your probability to obtain credit – it can be extremely difficult to get finance or cash loans with a low credit score.
According to ASIC’s Money Smart website, a credit provider may only report a debt if:
- The default amount is $150 or more
- You’re a ‘confirmed missing debtor’ or ‘clearout’ which means that your creditor can’t get in contact with you, or
- 60 days or more have passed since the due date for payment, and
- The creditor has asked you to pay the debt either in person (for example by phone call) or in writing (sending a written notice to your last known address)
So start with the basics – check your name, date of birth and phone number are correct and that your current and previous addresses are correct – it may be that a creditor has tried to contact you about a debt using incorrect contact details. This may also help you detect identity fraud that could lead to negative reports.
Next, look for any debt that appears more than once or that looks erroneous – whether it’s to a creditor you’re unfamiliar with, or the amount looks inaccurate or it’s a debt you were never made aware of.
Check if there are any loan repayments listed as in default that are not yet 60 days past due. If anything looks incorrect, get in touch with the creditor.
Do not simply pay the amount in good faith. If the creditor does not contact the credit reporting agencies to inform them of the error on their part, the default will remain on your file. And even when a default is listed as “paid”, this can still hurt your chances of getting finance from some lenders. If they creditor has made an error or failed to follow the correct legal process, the onus is on them to fix the problem before asking you to make payment.
HOW ERRORS MAY AFFECT YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING CREDIT
Whether or not an incorrectly listed default affects your chances of getting finances depends on the lender. There aren’t many lenders who offer finance with no credit check, so it’s important to remedy any credit file issues before applying for a loan or finance.
At Club Money, we do not fully rely on credit scores in assessing applications – although performing VEDA checks is part of the loan process.
We make sound credit decisions based on your character, spending habits, capacity, affordability, employment status, existing financial commitments and disposable income. We may even be able to offer cash loans with a low credit score.
To speak to a Club Money loan specialist, call 1300 792 932 today.