Your credit file forms a large part of the decision-making in whether you are a worthy credit-risk for the lender.
Having adverse listings on your credit file such as defaults, court judgements, a writ/summons or insolvency action can impact your ability to get a new loan, credit contract or other services. Recently, positive reporting was introduced to balance out these types of listings so that good conduct of accounts is also noted on your credit file.
Credit repair services (also known as “credit washing”) promote their ability to remove ‘negative’ information from your credit file (‘wash it’) to allow you to obtain lending or better interest rates.
The credit repair company charge you an upfront fee which can be as much as $1100 simply for taking on the case and then usually there are subsequent “success” fees for each listing to be removed; for example, we have been advised as much as $900 per listing on top of the initial upfront fee.
What they are not telling you is that a credit report can only be changed if a listing is inaccurate or out of date and YOU can access and update your own credit report to remove incorrect listings FREE OF CHARGE.
Credit Repair companies’ ability to actually help is restricted to where the credit listing is incorrect or outdated.
There are several free and independent dispute resolution arrangements, such as ombudsman schemes, which are available to help resolve disputes with credit providers across different sectors (e.g. financial services, telecommunications and utilities).
External Dispute Resolution (EDR) work on the basis that most borrowers would, with limited assistance be able to resolve disputes themselves. The majority of consumers do resolve complaints themselves or with the assistance of family or friends. A smaller number seek the assistance of a financial counsellor, community legal service, solicitor or accountant.
Financial Counselling is a free service provided by some local Councils or not-for-profit organisations such as The Red Cross, Salvation Army or some Church Groups.
Counsellors are experienced and qualified to assist those experiencing financial difficulty to understand their available options and help them through the process. The have a wide knowledge base also on your rights and responsibilities in regards to Centrelink entitlements and hardship arrangements with Creditors.
These services are in high demand so it is important to make an appointment as soon as possible if you feel you need assistance: https://www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au/Corporate/Find-a-Counsellor
Get your credit file for FREE
You have the right to free access of your credit report once every 12 months from credit reporting bodies in Australia. It is also free to update a credit report to remove incorrect listings where a listing is incorrect or out of date.
The main credit reporting agencies in Australia are:
Equifax (previously called Veda Advantage) https://www.equifax.com/personal/education/credit/report/how-to-get-your-free-credit-report
Dun & Bradstreet https://www.checkyourcredit.com.au/MyAccount/Order/StandardService
Credit reports include a variety of details and it is important that all the information is accurate;
- Personal identification details
- Credit applications made by you
- Repayment history
- Account information
- Defaults and Personal Insolvency information (such as a debt agreement, personal insolvency arrangement or bankruptcies).
Some credit reporting agencies may charge a fee for faster access to credit reports or for alerts about changes to a credit report; however they must provide a free copy once every 12 months if requested. You are also entitled to request a free copy of your credit report following a declined credit application (within 90 days) or where you have requested information be corrected and have been advised that the information on the report has been corrected.
Should you have a default listing it may be registered with only one credit reporting agency or some or all of them. It is a good practice to check all reporting bodies have the same and accurate information.
Life After Debt ®
At Life After Debt ® we want to find the debt solution that is right for you. We offer a free, no obligation initial assessment of your circumstances and will make recommendation(s) on what your debt relief options are; this may include one or more of the following;
- Recommendation to enquire about loan consolidation with your bank or preferred lender / broker
- Discussing hardship arrangements with Creditors
- Seeking guidance from a Financial Counsellor
- Informal Arrangements with Creditors
- Assessing whether a formal Debt Agreement is suitable
- Considering your circumstances should you seek relief under Voluntary Bankruptcy
If you have unmanageable debt and would like to talk to one of our experienced and sympathetic team members, you can contact us on 1300 237 669 or complete the contact form here to request a call back.