A beginner’s guide to your credit report

Your credit information can affect how companies treat you, for example when you want to borrow money or get insurance. It’s free to get a copy of your credit report but if you want the information quickly you’ll need to pay for it.

You can get a copy of yours by contacting one of the three credit bureaux in New Zealand: Centrix, illion, and Equifax.

What’s on a credit report?

Your credit report contains all credit related transactions you’ve had and includes:

  • Identifying information such as your name and address, as well as hardship applications, finance-related court records, and previous credit checks. Credit checks remain on your credit report for 4 years.
  • Payment history for any loans, and other bills like electricity, gas and phone accounts. Payment history remains on your credit report for 2 years.
  • Any defaults on loans or other bills which remain on your credit report for 4 years.
  • A credit score. This is a number usually between 0 and 1000 and is determined by the credit reporting companies above based on all the credit information they have collected about you. The higher the number, the better your score, and the more likely it is that your loan application will be approved. Your credit score changes over time as the information in your credit report changes.

What is a credit check?

A credit check is when a company requests a copy of your credit report as part of their application process.

Credit checks may occur more often then you think, for example when you rent a new property, or setup an account with a utility company.

Prior to October 1st 2019, credit checks were used to help calculate your credit score, and typically the more checks, the lower your score would be. This prevented consumers from shopping around to find the best deal without negatively affecting their credit score.

Since October 1st 2019, companies that offer risk based pricing (e.g varying interest rates dependent on your credit worthiness) like finance companies and banks, are now required to check your credit report using a ‘Quotation Enquiry’. This type of credit check is recorded on your credit report but cannot be used in determining your credit score.

A ‘Quotation Enquiry’ will turn into a ‘Credit Enquriy’ only if you proceed with the loan. Both these checks remain on your credit file for 4 years, but only a ‘Credit Enquiry’ will affect your credit score.

As part of our online application process, we check your credit report using a ‘Quotation Enquiry’ to ensure that your credit score is not affected.