How will open credit scores impact Australians?
Credit reporting agency Veda Advantage has just announced it will allow consumers to receive a copy of their credit score with their credit report. We look at how that will occur, and what possible impact that will have on consumers and also brokers and whether consumers will be better able to manage their credit worthiness using this ‘score’.
By Graham Doessel, Founder and CEO of MyCRA Credit Rating Repair and www.fixmybadcredit.com.au.
It was announced on Monday by Banking Day that Veda has ‘lifted the veil’ on credit scores and will allow consumers to be able to apply to see their credit score. Available to consumers for the first time, the VedaScore is a number between 0 and 1,200 that summarises information on your Veda credit file at a specific point in time. The higher the ‘VedaScore’ the better an individual is considered credit worthy.
For a fee consumers will be able to access their credit score along with their credit file.
This is over and above the standard credit report, which is still free from all of Australia’s credit reporting agencies once every year and is sent after 10 working days of application.
Despite being the credit reporting agency holding the credit files of the largest number of credit active Australians, Veda has in the past remained tight lipped about default numbers and credit statistics in Australia.
But this week they have offered some insight into credit activity, whilst releasing their ‘VedaScore’ product, by offering up a ‘Veda ScoreCard’ – which reportedly combines consumer research of 1,000 Australians about their finances with analysis of 300,000 VedaScores.
One of the biggest findings was that more than 2.3 million Australians are at risk of financial strife in the next year, with 27% (628,000) at high risk of credit default from something as simple as an unpaid bill, credit card or loan.
Veda’s survey also found some interesting facts about credit active Australians. Here are three we found most troubling about the credit active Australians surveyed:
93% know they have a credit record, but don’t know you can access it
81% are not concerned about their credit history
80% have never checked their credit history
Veda says the national average credit score is 749. But whilst Veda Marketing Manager Belinda Diprose, says in a statement to the media that making the VedaScore available to consumers for the first time “makes it easier for Australians to understand and manage their credit profile” – I am unsure how this will occur – as it hasn’t been announced that there will be a breakdown of that score and how it is calculated. There may be no way for consumers to understand what they can do to prevent their credit score from being reduced.
Yesterday Business Insider Australia featured an American report on How To Improve Your Credit Score. Whilst the U.S. system has a vastly different credit reporting system – what’s interesting is, the report gives us insight into how the U.S. ‘Fico’ Score is broken down:
Chart from Business Insider Australia’s report.
A similar breakdown could be useful to consumers looking to improve their credit worthiness or prevent decision making which reduces their credit score.
How will the VedaScore impact brokers?
Today we were quoted in The Adviser in a story about the Veda Credit Score.
Graham Doessel, chief executive officer of MyCRA Credit Rating Repair, said brokers should use the score to select the appropriate loan and lender for their clients, cutting back on rejected loan applications.
“Being able to see the credit score would be invaluable to brokers,” he told The Adviser. “It will make their job much easier, because they can have an idea very quickly how the client is going to fare with particular lenders.”
Alex Shumsky from Loan Market Oakleigh also made an important point about credit scoring information in the same story:
[Credit scoring] can be valuable provided the credit scoring is in line with that of the banks.
“You can submit one loan to one bank and fail on credit scoring then submit it to another bank and it gets approved, same deal, same info but they’ll score it differently,” he said.
It will still be up to brokers to match the right product to the right client – so whilst the VedaScore will be valuable in many cases, different banks will have different priorities and different scoring systems.
We also see it could bring new clients to brokers – those who have obtained their credit score but don’t know how to interpret it, or what the relevance of that score will be with each lender.
Brokers will still be quite necessary in terms of helping borrowers ‘test’ how their score rates against a range of available credit. What we don’t want to see in the future, are a great volume of borrowers ‘going it alone’ using their credit score, and then falling into the trap of worsening their credit score by generating excess credit enquiries.
So whilst revealing the score is great, we hope consumer education goes hand in hand with this product release.
For more information on your credit file, visit our main website www.mycra.com.au.
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