Credit reporting changes to benefit consumers

13 December 2019
Tags: media release

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has approved amendments to the Credit Reporting Code 2014 that will benefit consumers.

The changes follow an application by the Australian Retail Credit Association (ARCA) and consultation with consumer groups, industry and regulators.

Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said that amendments to the Code should facilitate an efficient credit reporting system while ensuring the privacy of individuals is respected.

“In this case the amendments are consistent with balancing those objectives as well as delivering benefits for consumers,” Commissioner Falk said.

“These changes make it easier for people to prevent identity and credit fraud. Consumers can ask credit reporting bodies to notify each other about the consumer’s request to place a ban period on credit applications.

“Until now, consumers had to contact each credit reporting body separately to request this protection.

“The amendments limit the types of information that can be included on credit reports, to the advantage of consumers, by ensuring that publicly available information which is not relevant to an individual’s creditworthiness is not included on credit reports.

“Credit reporting bodies will also be prevented from marketing to consumers by default.”

Under the Privacy Act, credit reporting bodies need to take reasonable steps to ensure personal information is accurate, up to date and complete, and to correct it if is not. The amendments set clear timeframes for processing corrections to consumer credit reports.

ARCA began consulting on the amendments in 2018, following an independent review of the Code. The amendments to the Code will be introduced on 14 February 2020.

Under the amendments:

  • Writs and summons will no longer be considered publicly available information, and can no longer be listed on credit reports
  • Credit reporting bodies (CRBs) will no longer be able to use pre-ticked direct marketing consents
  • When requested by an individual, CRBs are obliged to notify other CRBs of that individual’s ban period request
  • A Repayment History information (RHI) code ‘X’ will be introduced, intended to more accurately indicate when a payment is 180 days or more overdue.

More detail about the amendments is available here.

About the OAIC

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is an independent statutory agency established to promote and uphold privacy and information access rights. It has a range of regulatory responsibilities and powers under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, Privacy Act 1988 and Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010.

Media contact:            Andrew Stokes            0407 663 968