Your credit report - are you paying when you shouldn't?
Your credit report - are you paying when you shouldn't?.
15 August 2013
Individuals seeking a copy of their credit report are being charged up to $70 by credit reporting bureaus, and a consumer advocate for accurate credit reporting says many are not aware they can access the same report free of charge.
CEO of MyCRA Credit Rating Repair, Graham Doessel says many of his clients have in the past been funnelled into the paid option for their credit report, without being given the option to wait and access it for free.
“Most people we meet who have already got a copy of their credit report have paid for it. Overwhelmingly most people seem to not know they should be accessing it routinely nor that they have a right to access it for free annually,” Mr Doessel says.
Consumers are entitled to access a copy of their credit report once per year free of charge with each credit reporting agency.
Mr Doessel says people should routinely obtain a copy of their credit report if they are intending to access credit in the future, and that doing so will probably negate the need for an urgent copy due to finance refusal.
"A credit report reflects what lenders will see when they do a credit check before lending people money, so individuals should ensure their credit history is accurate prior to a credit application. Bad credit history can impact credit worthiness for a considerable time," he explains.
He says the free credit report is the same document as the paid option, with the difference being it is sent within 10 working days of receipt of the request.
“Some people need their credit report urgently, and for this reason the paid service is quite necessary. But others are merely doing routine checks, and should not be duped into paying for their credit report if they don’t require it right away,” he says.
Mr Doessel is calling for stronger guidelines in the new credit reporting laws around educating individuals about their rights to access their own credit information and how they can do it.
“With all the new changes to credit reporting coming through, many Australians have been encouraged to check what’s said about them on their credit file. As credit reporting bureaus are in effect caretakers of that credit information, they should be obliged to educate individuals about their rights,” he argues.
“There should be a stipulation that credit reporting bureaus must routinely offer all options available to individuals when accessing their credit report so they can decide for themselves whether they need their credit report urgently or whether they are able to wait the 10 days for it,” he says.
He says people can go to http://freecreditrating.com.au/ for help to get a copy of their credit file at no charge.