As changes to Australia’s credit reporting system to affect, financial counsellors have called on Australia’s credit reporting agencies to do the right thing – stop hiding information about how to access a “free” credit report.
The introduction of comprehensive credit reporting today will affect almost every single Australian over the age of 18.
“Credit reporting agencies will soon have massive amounts of information about the credit habits of millions of individuals, including how many credit cards a person may have and whether they make their payments on time,” said Fiona Guthrie, Executive Director of Financial Counselling Australia.
“With this additional information, it will be more important than ever that Australians can access a free copy of their credit report,” said Ms Guthrie. “More information means more chances for mistakes and disputes.”
“Accessing a free copy of your credit report will take up to 10 business days, but for many people, will be a better choice than paying as much as $80 to get a report within one working day,” said Ms Guthrie.
However, a website check today revealed that the two largest credit reporting agencies in Australia – Veda and Dun & Bradstreet – prominently promote access to their fee-based credit reports, but make it much harder to find information about the free option.
Under the new Credit Reporting Privacy Code, credit reporting agencies must make sure that the free option is as available and easy to access as the fee-based service.
“We look forward to the websites of both Veda and Dun & Bradstreet being updated tomorrow,” said Ms Guthrie.
“Financial counsellors assist people in financial difficulty, providing information, support and advocacy,” said Ms Guthrie. “Our clients will not be able to afford the high fees charged by credit reporting agencies. For example, Veda charges $79.95, while Dun & Bradstreet charge $30.00 to access a credit report within one working day.”
Anyone who is in financial difficulty can contact a free and independent financial counsellor on 1800 007 007 or visit www.debtselfhelp.org.au.
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