As of last week, comprehensive credit reporting is now in full swing. Mortgage data has been uploaded and the big four banks are now sharing information with credit reporting bodies which could affect your credit rating.
It’s called Comprehensive Credit Reporting or CCR and it means that credit providers now have more information to calculate your credit score with. With this extra data, we are also set to see banks practising more responsible lending since they will be able to see a bigger picture of the applicant.
Background: When did CCR start?
Change to Privacy Act introduces Comprehensive Credit Reporting
Officially, CCR started in March 2014 when changes to the Privacy Act allowed banks to release ‘comprehensive credit information’ about their customers, but on a voluntary basis. This included details such as their credit card limit, mortgage repayment history dating back two years, and whether they have any personal or car loans and their repayment history on these.
Prior to this, credit providers could only share negative information such as court judgements, details of overdue payments, and bankruptcy, which could all have very adverse effects on a consumer’s credit rating.
Mandatory changes force major banks to comply with CCR
As part of the 2017-18 Budget, the Government announced that they wanted to increase competition in the retail and business banking sector. As part of this, they decided that they would mandate comprehensive credit reporting if the banks did not report at least 40% of their data to credit reporters by the end of 2017.
It was thought that this would lead to greater competition in the area and that households would be able to get better mortgage deals.
Towards the end of 2017 it was clear that the banks were not going to meet this mark so the then Treasurer Scott Morrison, announced that the Government would introduce legislation to mandate the comprehensive credit reporting regime.
“If you have a good credit history – you’re paying down your mortgage, you haven’t missed a payment on your car loan and your credit cards are under control – you will be able to demand a better deal on your interest rates, or shop around, armed with your data,” said Mr Morrison during a speech when talking about the regime.
Big four banks upload their data
Last week, the big four banks uploaded their data, meaning that the regime is now in full swing and customers may finally start to see changes to their credit rating – for better or worse.
Although NAB uploaded its data in February, the other banks were slow to follow. Last week ANZ, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank uploaded their data, meaning that 80% of all mortgages and 60% of all credit cards in Australia are known for CCR.
What will this do to my credit rating?
Simon Bligh, the Chief Executive of the credit bureau, Illion, says that research from the University of Sydney has shown that two-thirds of people’s credit ratings are set to be improved by comprehensive credit reporting – that is, once the rewards of adjusted credit ratings are passed on.
According to Mr Bligh, under CCR, mortgages and other credit deals will begin to look more like insurance policies.
“premiums or interest rates and fees could be priced according to a customer’s risk,” said Bligh.
With the influx of positive data points, it also means that your credit score will probably go up, even if you have defaulted on a credit card in the past. If you defaulted on a credit card five years ago but have always paid your bills on time ever since, you might find your credit rating goes up.
On the other hand, if you have multiple credit cards that you are routinely late in paying, you might see your credit score negatively affected by the new data.
By the same token, if you have multiple credit cards your credit score might also be negatively affected due to your total liability. Comprehensive credit reporting will only show your credit limit, rather than your amount owing, meaning that if you have three credit cards, all with a limit of $10,000, your total liability will be $30,000, even if you only owe $2000 on one of them.
Words by Kathryn Lee