As part of the reforms to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), new kinds of credit-related personal information can be collected about you. This includes whether you have made or missed a consumer credit payment. This new type of information is called ‘repayment history information’.
What is repayment history information (RHI)?
RHI is information about whether you have met your consumer credit payment obligations. Consumer credit is credit that is intended to be used primarily for personal, family or household purposes.
RHI includes information about whether you have made a payment on time or whether you have missed a payment. If you only pay part of the amount owing, you are taken to have missed a payment.
RHI includes the day on which a payment is due, and if you made a payment after that day, the date on which you paid. Therefore, RHI can include both positive and negative information about your credit history.
It does not include the amount of any missed payment — only the fact that you have made or missed a payment.
What types of payments could be included in my RHI?
RHI can include information about any consumer credit payments that you make, or fail to make, to a credit provider that holds an Australian Credit Licence.
This means that RHI will usually reflect made or missed payments on a loan or credit card.
When can credit providers begin collecting RHI?
RHI can only relate to payments that you have made or missed from December 2012. Then from March 2014 licenced credit providers can pass your RHI on to credit reporting bodies.
How will my RHI affect my ability to obtain credit?
From March 2014, credit reporting bodies can disclose your RHI, along with other credit-related personal information, to licenced credit providers. Those credit providers may use this information to help determine your eligibility to be provided with credit.
This means that if you fail to make the full amount of a payment on time from December 2012 it may affect your ability to obtain credit in the future.
How far back will my RHI go?
Information about any particular payment cannot be held for more than two years from the date it was due.
However, RHI will not include information about any payment that was due before December 2012.
How will I know if a credit provider will pass my RHI on to a credit reporting body?
When a credit provider collects your RHI it should notify you of certain matters, including the name and contact details of any credit reporting body to whom it is likely to disclose the information.
How can I find out what RHI is held about me?
If you believe that a credit provider or credit reporting body holds RHI about you, you can make a request to the relevant credit provider or credit reporting body to access that information. In most cases, they must comply with your request, and will do so for free.
What can I do if I think that RHI held about me is incorrect?
If you believe that RHI held about you is incorrect you should ask the credit provider or credit reporting body to correct the information.
What can I do if I believe my RHI has been handled inappropriately?
If you believe that a credit provider or credit reporting body has handled your RHI inappropriately, you can complain to the relevant credit provider or credit reporting body.
If you are not satisfied with the response to your complaint, you can complain to an external dispute resolution scheme of which the credit provider or credit reporting body is a member, or to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. For more information about how to make a complaint, see www.oaic.gov.au/privacy-portal/complaints_privacy.html.
The information provided in this fact sheet is of a general nature. It is not a substitute for legal advice.
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