Understanding your credit history
When lenders assess your suitability for credit they look at your financial history, which includes:
- your applications for credit in the last few years, for example a bank loan or a contract with a mobile phone provider
- any overdue accounts or rent defaults
- bankruptcy information (if applicable).
A poor credit history can mean you have less chance of an approval for your new credit card or loan. A good credit history means you may be able to borrow more money because lenders will look at you more favourably.
It might be worth checking on your credit history so that you’re prepared when you apply for a loan or a credit card. You can check this out at www.mycreditfile.com.au.
If you think you have an incorrect credit file, contact the credit company as soon as you can to ask for a correction.
There are a few simple steps you can take to make sure you have a good credit history.
- Keep control of your debts – make sure you pay your credit card, mobile phone and other bills on time. Overdue payments can stay on your credit file for years.
- Contact your creditors – don’t be shy; if you’re having trouble keeping up with your repayments, contact your credit provider and talk about your options. They may be able to give you an extension to your loan or reduce the interest rate.
- Be realistic – if you can’t keep up with your repayments, think about reducing the repayment amount or extending the term of the loan.
- Have a stable job – a long term job will show creditors you’re more stable.
- Don’t be fooled – some companies may try to charge you hundreds to ‘fix’ your credit rating.