These days, everyone uses credit on a daily basis — credit and store cards, Paypal, even utility bills are a credit line.
The ability to get credit is something we take for granted, but if something goes wrong it’s usually at the worst possible time — just as you’re about to commit to a large purchase, or even a house.
The 12 March 2014 changes to the Privacy Act included some big changes to the way that the credit system works in Australia. Some aspects remain the same, and some are different, but the key things to remember are:
• You have the right to access and request corrections to the information held about you by credit reporting bodies (the organisations that track people’s credit worthiness) and credit providers (banks, mortgage brokers etc).
• In some cases if you are more than 14 days late on a bill, this information may be added to your credit report — this is your repayment history. This is NOT a default.
• If you are more than 60 days late on a bill, this is a default and may be recorded on your credit report if the credit provider has followed a certain procedure.
• A default cannot be recorded for an amount that is less than $150, or if you are under 18.
• A ‘credit repair’ agency cannot get information that is correct removed from your credit report.
• If there is incorrect information in your credit report, you can directly request a correction — you do not need to use a ‘credit repair’ agency for this.
A series of detailed fact sheets about credit reporting will soon be available on the OAIC website