15 April 2014
Australia’s new credit laws have some consumers on edge and checking their credit score to ensure they’re not blacklisted – but a consumer advocate for accurate credit reporting says beware, your credit score can be lowered by where you live as well as what you do with credit.
Graham Doessel, Non-Legal Director of MyCRA Lawyers, a firm focused on credit disputes says many things can reduce your credit score, including your address.
“Basically all the details asked for on your home loan application form can be used to calculate a credit score, including where you live,” Mr Doessel says.
The former broker says some suburbs put you in the credit danger zone.
“It’s not common knowledge, but when it comes to your address some suburbs are listed as high for commercial credit risk and if you happen to live in that suburb your score may be lower than what it would be if you lived somewhere else,” he says.
Credit reporting bureaus such as Veda Advantage and Dun and Bradstreet hold information on millions of consumers, and use this data to make predictions about credit risk. They also publish de-identified information on their collected data from time to time, such as with Dun and Bradstreet’s 2009 publication ‘Consumers still in the danger zone – A geographic look at consumer credit risk across the country’ (1)
“The Geographic Risk Indicator (GRI) assesses the likelihood of future default on a credit obligation based on demographic data. Those areas categorised as a high risk are 3.4 times more likely than average to be inhabited by individuals who have experienced previous negative credit events,” the publication states.
“It may not be fair, but the truth is, if you live in a ‘bad’ suburb your score will be reduced even if you are personally a good credit risk,” Mr Doessel says.
So what else can contribute to lowering your credit score?
Mr Doessel says how long you’ve lived at your address can also contribute to a low score.
“Lenders like to see stability, so moving just before you put in an application for finance is probably not ideal, depending on how much you’re borrowing,” he says.
Some of the many factors Veda Advantage might take in to consideration when calculating their VedaScore can include: (2)
· Types of credit provider you have made credit enquiries with (Credit providers are rated as high to low risk lenders) · Type and size of credit requested in your application
· Number of credit enquiries and shopping patterns
· Directorship and Proprietorship information
· Length of employment
· Age of credit report
· Default information including court writs and default judgments
Mr Doessel says default information can play a big part in how your score is calculated.
“Of course any adverse listings such as defaults or Court Writs and Judgements and Bankruptcies can really lower your credit score even if you live in a great suburb. We’ve helped millionaires with disputing credit listings impacting their ability to get finance,” he says.
He says repayment history is a grey area as to how it could impact your credit score. This is relevant to you if your credit provider decides to opt in to the new comprehensive credit reporting system and lists payments on your credit card or loan accounts which are more than 14 days behind.
“It’s important to pay your credit accounts on time every time as we just don’t know what impact even one late payment notation could have on your credit score,” he says.
For interviews and more information please contact:
Graham Doessel – Non-Legal Director MyCRA Lawyers Ph 3124 7133
Lisa Brewster – Media Liaison MyCRA Lawyers firstname.lastname@example.org
MyCRA Lawyers 246 Stafford Rd, STAFFORD Qld Ph 07 3124 7133
About MyCRA Lawyers: MyCRA Lawyers is an Incorporated Legal Practice focused on credit file consultancy and credit disputes. MyCRA Lawyers means business when it comes to helping those disadvantaged by credit rating mistakes.
Image: Danilo Rizzuti/ www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net