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Privacy fact sheet 34: Repayment history information and your credit report

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May 2014

Credit reporting ‘know your rights’ series no. 9

This factsheet is the ninth in a series that outlines what you need to know about how your personal information can be handled in the Australian consumer credit reporting system. It contains information about the inclusion of information about your repayment history in your consumer credit report. There are lots of technical terms used in the credit reporting system and we refer to some of those terms in this series. You can find more information about these terms in no. 2 (Privacy fact sheet 27) of this series.

What is your repayment history?

Information about your repayment history (sometimes called ‘repayment history information’ or RHI) is information about whether you have met your consumer credit payment obligations in a particular month.

RHI includes information about whether you have made a payment on time, or whether you have missed a payment.

RHI is different to a 'default', which is information about a payment of $150 or more that has been overdue for at least 60 days. A credit provider must give you specific notices before information about a default can be included in your consumer credit report. For more information about defaults see no. 10 (Privacy fact sheet 35) in this series.

Why is your credit report permitted to include information about your repayment history?

Information about your repayment history is primarily intended to help a credit provider make sure that it does not give you credit that is unsuitable – such as a loan that you can't repay without suffering substantial hardship, or a contract that doesn't meet your requirements and objectives.

For more information about credit providers’ responsible lending obligations, see Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) Money Smart website.

When are you considered to have missed a payment?

You will be considered to have missed a consumer credit payment if you make the payment more than 14 days after the day it was due to be paid.

What if you pay some, but not all, the payments that are due in a month?

If you miss even one consumer credit payment that is due to be paid in a particular month, you will be recorded as having not met your consumer credit obligations for that month.

For example, if you enter into a loan contract that requires you to make two repayments each month, and you only make one payment in a particular month, your consumer credit report will show that you did not make your monthly repayments for that month. It does not matter that you made one of the two payments.

What if you only pay part of the amount owing?

If you only pay part of the amount owing, you are taken to have missed a payment.

However, in relation to credit cards, you are only taken to have missed a payment if you fail to make the ‘minimum payment due’ (as indicated on your credit card bill).

Can your credit report include the amount of a missed payment?

Information about your repayment history does not include the amount of any missed payment — only the fact that you have made or missed a payment.

What types of missed credit payments can be included in your credit report as part of your repayment history?

Your consumer credit report can only include information about consumer credit payments that you make, or do not make, to a credit provider that holds an Australian Credit Licence.

Common types of credit provided by a credit provider that holds an Australian Credit Licence include:

  • home loans
  • personal loans, and
  • credit cards.

What types of payments cannot be included in your credit report as part of your repayment history?

Your consumer credit report will not include information about whether you have made or missed a payment in relation to:

  • your electricity, water or gas bill
  • telecommunications contracts (including your mobile phone and internet bill)
  • public transport or toll road bills, and
  • bills for other goods and services provided to you on credit.

Who can handle information about your repayment history?

Only credit providers that hold an Australian Credit Licence can access information about your repayment history. This includes:

  • banks
  • building societies
  • credit unions
  • credit card companies, and
  • some small amounts lenders (payday lenders) that provide contracts for credit of up to $2000 for a term of between 16 days and one year (for more information about small amounts lending, see ASIC’s Money Smart website).

Who cannot handle information about your repayment history?

The following credit providers will not be able to see information about your repayment history:

  • electricity, gas and water utilities
  • telecommunications carriers
  • toll road and public transport operators, and
  • retail companies that permit you to defer payment for goods or services.

For more information about who can and cannot gain access to your consumer credit report see no. 6 (Privacy fact sheet 31) in this series.

Can information about your repayment history affect your ability to obtain credit?

Credit providers use the personal information contained in your consumer credit report to assist them in deciding whether to grant your application for credit.

If a credit provider holds an Australian Credit Licence they may be able to see information about your repayment history.

Importantly, this means that if you consistently make your consumer credit payments on time a credit provider will be able to see this in your credit report.

However, this also means that if you do not make payments on time it may affect your ability to obtain certain types of credit in the future (such as a home loan, a personal loan or a credit card) .

How will you know if information about your repayment history will be included in your credit report?

At or before the time a credit provider collects information about your repayment history it must inform you if it intends to disclose that information to a credit reporting body (CRB). A credit provider will usually inform you of this when you enter into a credit contract (such as a mortgage contract) with that provider.

This means that a credit provider cannot disclose information about your repayment history that pre-dates that notice.

How far back will your RHI go?

Information about any particular payment cannot be held by a CRB (and included in your consumer credit report) for more than two years.

How can you find out what information about your repayment history is contained in your credit report?

If you want to find out whether your consumer credit report contains information about your repayment history, you can make a request to a CRB for access to your consumer credit report. In most cases, the CRB must give you a copy of your consumer credit report for free. For more information about how to obtain a free copy of your consumer credit report, see no. 6 (Privacy fact sheet 31) in this series.

How will RHI appear in your credit report?

If you make all your consumer credit payments that are due to be paid in a particular month on time, a ‘0’ will appear on your consumer credit report next to that month.

Information about any payments that you have missed will appear in your consumer credit report as a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, X next to the month in which the payment was due. A higher number (or 'X') will indicate that the payment has been overdue for longer.

A CRB or a credit provider that provides you with a copy of your consumer credit report should also provide you with a summary and explanation of the information contained on that report (including in relation to your RHI).

What can you do if you think that information about your repayment history is incorrect?

If you believe that information about your repayment history contained in your consumer credit report is incorrect, you should ask a credit provider or CRB to correct the information. For more information about how to have your consumer credit report corrected please see no. 7 (Privacy fact sheet 32) in this series.

For further information

telephone: 1300 363 992
email: enquiries@oaic.gov.au
write: GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001
Or visit our website at www.oaic.gov.au