The collection of repayment history information is one of the main changes. Repayment history information can be collected for the most recent 24 months of a loan. This change means that it is now more important than ever to make credit card and loan repayments on time. Although it is not compulsory, late or non-repayments can now be recorded on credit reports and made available to potential lenders if they exceed five days after the due by date. Repayment history information is not collected for utility providers or telecommunications providers. It is important to realise that if you can’t make a repayment you can let the financial institution know and seek a hardship application. A hardship application is an agreed variation to a contract due to hardship and will not be listed on your credit report.

With this increase in the amount of information included in credit reports made available to lenders comes the need for all Australians to be able to readily access a copy of their credit report. An individual’s ability to access their credit report is important in ensuring everything is correct. It also ensures they are given the opportunity to dispute any of the information before it is relied on too heavily by lenders.

Financial Counselling Australia has highlighted the need for free copies of credit reports to be more readily advertised and accessible. Large credit reporting agencies, such as Veda and Dun & Bradstreet must now ensure that the free option of obtaining a credit report is as available and easy to access as the fee based service.

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