In Australia, there is more and more talk about the importance of knowing your credit score, and how to improve and protect it.
So how familiar are you with yours?
Do you know whether you have one credit score, or a number of them?
Who is responsible for calculating the score and how often can it change?
Please read on to find out!
Where can I get my credit score?
In Australia, there are three national credit reporting agencies who can provide a credit score for you. They are:
Your credit score is given as a number, and fits within a specific range chosen by the agency.
Equifax uses a range from – 200 up to 1200.
Experian and Dun and Bradstreet use a range from 0 – 1000.
Your score aligns with what your credit rating is, and is generally referred to as being either good, ok or bad. Overall, the higher your score, the better it is for you. We explain more about this, later.
How is my credit score calculated?
Each credit reporting agency has it’s own way of calculating your score with them.
They use the information they have recorded on the credit file set up for you, and use their own algorithm to convert all of this into your individual credit score.
This information includes your age, where you live, your job, how much you have borrowed, the number of applications you’ve made and if you’ve had any overdue or unpaid debts.
Does that mean I could have more than one credit score?
Yes, it does. This is because:
1. We have 3 national credit reporting agencies able to provide you with a credit score, and they act independently.
(In Tasmania, there is an agency for Tasmanian residents only, called the Tasmanian Collection Service. They do not provide consumers directly with their credit score, only their credit file.)
2. Each has their own unique algorithm to calculate your credit score with them.
3. It’s likely they each hold different information about you, depending on which lenders and service providers they interact with. This information contributes to your score with them.
4. They may update their data, as well as re-calculate your credit score at different times.
5. There’s always the potential that something could be listed incorrectly on your credit report, which will affect your credit score with that agency.
How often does my credit score change?
Australian credit reporting agencies re-calculate your credit score with them, on average, once a month.
This does not guarantee your score will change, but potentially it can, especially if you’ve had any changes to your financial circumstances.
Some examples of financial changes would be applying for a new loan or credit card, missing a loan or utility payment, being late with paying rent or having a default listed.
Do I need to obtain all my credit scores and how do I compare them?
Because your credit score can regularly change, and is calculated using the information held on your credit report, your best approach is to regularly check that all the information listed on your seperate credit reports are correct.
As long as each credit reporting agency holds accurate information about you, you don’t need to be concerned if you have slightly different credit scores with each of them.
As a responsible online loan lender, we always provide you with a copy of your credit report when you apply for a loan with us, so you can ensure all of the information recorded, is correct.
Why should I care about my credit score?
Your credit score (or scores) are used by lenders and service providers to help assess whether or not to provide you with a loan or service.
As indicated above, some lenders obtain more than one credit score from the available credit reporting agencies. This gives them further reassurance of your credit rating, and your financial situation.
It’s important to know, however, that it’s not necessarily the only factor in determining whether or not you are approved, but it does provide them with a strong indication of your credit worthiness.
When you have a good credit score, it generally means you’ll be eligible to access more products at lower interest rates, which can save you thousands of dollars.
Like to know how to care for your credit score? Then please read our recent blog, 5 tips to improve your credit score.
We hope this has explained why you can potentially have a number of different credit scores in Australia, why they change, and who is responsible for calculating them.