Credit Reporting Agencies

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What are Credit Reporting Agencies? 

A credit reporting agency is a private company that collects data and maintains historical information on consumer and business credit records. Credit reporting agencies provide credit providers with access to individual and company credit reports enabling them to assess the risk involved in a lending decision.

In Australia, you are entitled to get a free copy of your credit report from each agency every three months. In New Zealand, there are no limits to how often you can request a copy of your credit report. A credit report provides a ‘picture’ of how you use credit. As an example, if you have ever owned a credit card, taken out a loan, or applied for a mobile phone plan you will probably have a credit history. Your credit history may include information such as enquiries by companies that you have made an application for credit to, current loans, any defaults, bankruptcies, and details about whether you pay your bills on time. This ‘picture’ is used by credit providers when deciding whether or not to approve an application for credit.

Why do I need a Credit Report? 

A credit report will show any credit history uploaded on your file and will usually include a credit score which is a representation of your risk to credit lenders. A higher score represents lower risk, whilst a lower score represents more risk to a prospective lender.

By getting a copy of your credit report you will be able to see which lenders have made an enquiry on your credit file and what information is being uploaded to your file from lenders that you have a current loan facility with. You will be able to check that all the information uploaded on your file is accurate or make a request for an amendment if you believe there are any errors.

Importantly, it is also a means to assess whether someone has attempted to obtain credit in your name. Requesting a copy of your credit report on a regular basis is a way you can monitor your file to ensure no errors are on your report.

How to do I obtain a Credit Report? 
  • Request a free credit report from ALL relevant agencies as some may load credit information on your file that is not provided to others:
  1. Australia - Equifax (formerly Veda), Experian, Illion (formally Dun & Bradstreet).
  2. New Zealand – Centrix, Equifax, Illion (formally Dun & Bradstreet).
  • Have sufficient identification ready in order to obtain your credit history.
  • In Australia, you may be charged a fee if you have already obtained a report from the same credit reporting agency within the last three months. However, you cannot be charged if you have evidence that you have been refused credit within the past 90 days, or your credit-related personal information has been changed. NB: illion never charges for credit reports.
  • In New Zealand, the credit bureaus will provide a copy of your report at no charge, although Equifax may charge a fee for the report if you require it sooner than ten days from your application date. Centrix and Illion do not charge for credit reports.
  • If you would like help understanding the process or need assistance in obtaining or interpreting your credit report, please contact IDCARE.

What if my identity has been compromised? 
  • If there is risk that your identity may be fraudulently used, it is recommended that a ban (also known as a suppression) be placed on your file – this is a free service.
  • During a suppression period, credit providers will not be able to access your file for 21 days (Australia) or between 10 days and 20 days (NZ).
  • Report your matter to police and notify your financial institution(s).
  • A suppression may be extended indefinitely but you will need to provide proof of fraudulent activity (or risk thereof), for example a police report or if it’s an online crime and, if you’re in Australia, a report number.

Relevant IDCARE Fact Sheets

You can find more detailed information in the following IDCARE fact sheets:

Relevant Websites 


New Zealand

For additional support or information, contact IDCARE by submitting a Get Help Form or call 1800 595 160 (Aus) or 0800 121 068 (NZ).


Identity Care Australia & New Zealand Ltd (IDCARE) provides identity and cyber security incident response services (the Services) in accordance with the following disclaimer of service:

  • IDCARE is Australia and New Zealand’s national identity and cyber incident community support service. IDCARE is a not-for-profit and registered Australian charity.
  • The Services provided do not constitute legal advice. IDCARE recommends that you consult your own legal counsel in relation to your legal rights and obligations, including but not limited to your legal rights or obligations under Australian and international privacy and data protection laws.
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IDCARE is here to provide you with specialist support and guidance when faced with a cyber and identity related issue. Contact one of our Identity & Cyber Security Case Managers to learn more about our Support Services and how we can help you.   

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