If you apply to borrow money, a bank or other lender will check your credit report before they decide whether or not to lend you money. A credit report includes personal information about you, what debts you have, your repayment history, as well as what other loans or credit you have applied for.
Under the law, you can access a free copy of your credit report every three months from each of the credit reporting bodies. There are several credit reporting bodies in Australia and they don’t necessarily all have the same information (see list of providers, below). You may find you have a higher credit rating or score with one provider than another.
A credit report will usually have a credit rating or credit score as a summary of your information. Credit scores are usually out of 1,000 or 1,200 and generally, the higher your score, the better.
If you’re concerned about your partner’s behaviour and wonder if they might have used your personal information without your consent to get access to credit, it’s a good idea to get a copy of your credit report to check if someone has applied for, or taken out, loans in your name.
If you find loans on your credit report that you don’t recognise, you can speak to your credit provider or credit reporting body to query these. However, if you suspect the loans are there because of abusive partner or family member, you may first want to seek advice from a lawyer, community legal centre, or financial counsellor.
A credit report can only be built by having had accounts in your name. If your partner has never let you have accounts in your name, you may not have a good credit score as you may not have any credit history.
Australian credit reporting bodiesRead more about how credit reporting works in Australia. Find out more about credit scores Talk to a financial counsellor.