The higher your score, the better your credit rating is considered to be. The scale is divided into five bands:
You might be able to use it to negotiate better deals on financial products, such as a lower interest rate on your home loan or a premium credit card with rewards points and benefits.
An Experian score which is only 'Fair' (between 550 and 624) tells the lender that you may be involved in an adverse credit event, such as a debt default, in the next year. An Experian score in the 'Below average' (0-549) range is saying that an adverse credit event is even more likely.
You may have credit card and loan applications refused, or be charged a higher interest rate.
Values are allocated to each piece of information in your credit report. Factors such as your age, how long you've been with your current employer or at your current residential address, and any previous overdue or defaulted debts or bankruptcies, are all given a numeric rating. Other items taken into consideration are any credit accounts and credit limits you currently have (or had in the past), the identity of the credit providers, your repayment history, and the number of credit applications you may have made within a given time frame, successful or otherwise.
If you have signed up to track your credit score with another provider, you may notice a difference in your score. We work with a single reporting bureau (Experian). Other services may work with a different credit bureau, which uses different criteria. The algorithm they use to interpret the data will be different from the Experian algorithm, and so may produce different results.
It’s also possible that the data provided to each credit reporting bureau may vary, since not all credit providers submit data to every reporting bureau. Finally, not all bureaux use the same reporting scale: Experian scores out of 1000, with an ‘Excellent’ score in the range 800-1000, and a ‘Below Average’ score of 0-549. Other bureaux, for example Equifax, may use a scale of up to 1200, where ‘Excellent’ is 833-1200 and ‘Below Average' is 0-509.
If your score sits somewhere near the dividing line between the bands (Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Below Average) it’s quite possible that you will be placed in a different band by another bureau. But if your score or band is wildly different, it could mean that one of the bureaux has incorrect or missing information about you. Ask each bureau for a copy of your credit file (available free once a year) and contact them if anything needs to be corrected.
The first step is find out what your credit score actually is, using our free tool. If your score is high, there's no need for any further action (except regular monitoring of your score). But if it's average or low and you'd like to improve it, order a copy of your credit file to see where the problems are. (You can get a free copy of your credit file once a year.) Specific steps you can take to improve your score include:
Your credit score will change in line with the data in your credit file. So if the data doesn't change much, your score will remain stable. But any new credit activity you engage in (such as applying for a credit card or loan, paying bills on time or late) will be likely to appear in your file and will affect your score. It's a good idea to check your score regularly, if only as an indicator that all is well and that no false information has found its way onto your file.
It's a good idea to keep checking your credit score and be aware of any changes before you apply for a new loan or credit card. If your score changes unexpectedly, it may mean that there is incorrect information recorded in your file, which you need to rectify. It could also mean that you have been a victim of identity theft, where someone applies for credit in your name and subsequently defaults.
If you think your credit score is incorrect, order a copy of the credit file on which it was based. (You can get a free copy of your credit file once per year.) Identify any errors and ask the credit provider who reported you, or the credit agency, to correct them. If you don't get a satisfactory result, you can apply to a financial services ombudsman for assistance.
Every adult in Australia who has ever had a utility account, or applied for a credit card or bank loan, or paid any kind of bill on terms rather than cash on the nail, has a credit file. Information about how the individual handled each credit situation is placed in the file. This becomes the person's credit history. A credit score is simply your credit history expressed as a number, like a score out of ten in a test, or a percentage or grade in an exam.
By comparing your credit score with that of other people (i.e. by checking to see in which percentile you appear in the numerical scale), a prospective lender can get a snapshot of your creditworthiness without needing to look at your credit history.
Nothing. Zero, zip, zilch. It's a free service brought to you courtesy of Credit Card Compare.
By knowing your credit score, you can get an idea of whether your credit card or loan application is likely to be approved. If your score is near the top of the scale used by a particular bureau, your application is more likely to be approved. Conversely, having a low score means that you may need to take some active steps to improve your score before applying. Every rejected application can further damage your score.
Yes. Your data will be handled, and your score given, by the reputable credit bureau Experian. Both Credit Card Compare and Experian take a very serious approach to your privacy. Getting your credit score is also a proactive safety step, since it can help bring to light instances of identity theft.
No. Your application for your credit score is not recorded on your credit file.
Your credit score will be accessed by Experian and it will be shown in your Credit Card Compare account.
Your name and current address, your date of birth and your driving licence number. If you've been at your current address for less than three years, you'll need to supply your previous address.
Normally in a matter of seconds, depending on the speed of your internet connection.
Check to make sure that you entered all your personal information correctly, exactly as it appears on your chosen identity document. If your personal information is correctly entered, and you still can't get a score, it's possible that you simply don't have an active credit file on the database, or that there's not enough information in your file on which to base a calculation. In this case you may need to request your full credit report.