Do you have some serious issues on your credit file?
Firstly, a quick Google will show you that there are a lot of “credit repair” companies out there who claim they can remove negative information – for a price of course.
Information that is correct cannot be removed.
ASIC have previously taken action against companies offering services they cannot deliver.
However, there may be items on your credit file that you can remove if they have been reported incorrectly, and it doesn’t need to cost you a cent.
Everything “credit repair” services charge for, you can easily do yourself – for free.
The important thing to know, is that by checking your credit file regularly, if you spot any incorrect information, these can be challenged, to have that information updated or removed.
The main things to check on your credit file are:
Name (including any middle names) - ensure the spelling is correct
Date of birth - seems obvious doesn’t it.
Addresses, previous and current - if there are any addresses you don’t recognise (this could be a case of ID fraud)
Doubled up debts - a lender may have made a mistake and listed multiple enquiries
Credit enquiries - any Lenders you don’t recognise having sought credit from. Keeping in mind that if you’ve used a Broker, you might want to check which Credit Provider they may have enquired with on your behalf.
To lodge a request to have this information updated, simply contact the credit reporting bureau. When doing so, be sure to provide them with as much information as possible, stating your case why this information is incorrect.
Other important information you should check:
- Debts listed in default - this is quite serious, if a default is listed you want to ensure it was listed correctly and you were provided sufficient warning of this.
- Repayment history information - important to ensure your repayments are up to date, as this can have an adverse affect on your credit score and if this information is wrong, you should get this corrected.
A default is classified as a debt that is in arrears for more than 60 days and may be with a debt collector. The full list of factors to list a default are described by OAIC here.
If any of this could apply to you, you can challenge them by contacting the creditor (financial institution) and ask for the record to be removed. They in turn will contact the bureau and remove it, if they agree on the error. If you are not happy with the outcome you can contact the industry ombudsman as a last resort to discuss your options.
Credit and Finance ombudsman is AFCA (https://www.afca.org.au/).
Telco issues are handled by TIO (telecommunications ombudsman).
Utility issues are handled by the Energy and Water ombudsman (these are state based).
Finally, the National Debt Helpline offers free financial counselling on 1800 007 007.