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Let’s talk about credit

Everyone has goals in life that require credit, such as purchasing a home, renovating, going on holiday, or even getting married. Understanding how credit works and the information financial institutions use to evaluate your ability to borrow money is vital.

Credit reporting

Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR) enhances Australia's credit reporting system and allows information to be securely shared between lenders (“credit providers”) and credit reporting bodies.

Great Southern Bank is required by law to share certain information with the credit reporting bodies.  This information is then included in consumer credit reports. This helps lenders recognise people with sound credit management and borrowing practices which in turn helps protect people from taking on too much debt or debt they can’t afford.

The information we share includes:

  • loan applications
  • the date each loan was opened or closed
  • the type of loan
  • the credit limit
  • repayment history information
  • financial hardship information
  • credit defaults
  • serious credit infringements

Your credit report

Your credit report is a summary of your credit history.  It connects you to the following information:

  • active loan accounts
  • whether you've made your loan repayments on time
  • previous loan applications
  • missed payments and defaults
  • bankruptcies
  • financial hardship arrangements and repayment history
  • a credit score

Most of this information is provided to the credit reporting bodies by credit providers such as banks and other lenders.

When you apply for a loan, we collect your credit report from a credit reporting body and use it to help understand the risk of lending you money.  Each lender has their own internal policy on what risk they are willing to accept, so naturally how you’ve managed your finances in the past will impact your ability to get a loan and the interest rate you’ll pay on that loan.

What is a credit score?

Your credit score is a number which may be used by a lender to inform their credit decisions.

Each credit reporting body uses your credit history and other information they hold about you in a different way to arrive at a unique credit score.

Get a free copy of your credit report

Great Southern Bank shares your information with the following three credit reporting bodies.  You can contact them directly to access a free copy of your credit report every 3 months, or within 90 days of a denied credit application.

Repayment and hardship reporting

Many people go through a hard time with their finances at one time or another, and we are here to help.

Repayment History Information (RHI) is reported against each of your loans and shows when you fall behind on your repayments.  RHI presents on your credit report as the number of months you were behind on your repayments at a particular point in time.  It stays on your credit report for 24 months.

Financial Hardship Information (FHI) only presents when you agree with Great Southern Bank to formally defer or change your obligations as a result of hardship.  Examples include pausing your repayments, extending your loan term, or capitalising arrears.  FHI takes one of two forms:

  • ‘A’, which shows in a month if there was a temporary arrangement or repayment deferral agreed in that month; or
  • ‘V’, which shows when a permanent change to your loan contract was agreed.

FHI stays on your credit report for 12 months.  If we change your obligations as a result of hardship, your repayment history information will be reported against your newly agreed obligations. This means that as long as you comply with the new obligations RHI will be reported as zero, showing you are up to date with your payments.

The links below include examples of what RHI and FHI look like in particular circumstances.

How is repayment history information and financial hardship information used?

A financial hardship arrangement is an agreement between you and your lender to adjust or defer your loan repayment. A financial hardship arrangement is intended to support you to get back on track with your finances and can make a positive difference on your credit report.

Providing financial hardship information on your credit report shows lenders whether or not you met the revised obligations after the hardship event.  The reasons why you entered the financial hardship arrangement will not be included.

Financial hardship information cannot be used:

  • when calculating your credit score
  • as the sole reason for rejecting your credit application.

What should I do if I’m experiencing financial hardship?

Talk to us.

Our experienced teams can discuss your options and help you find the best way to get back on track.

Call Us (07) 3552 4700
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:00pm (AEST)
Financial counselling

If you need help, you can also get independent advice from the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 from anywhere in Australia.

Take control of your credit score

Your credit history can improve over time. This is because under the comprehensive credit reporting system information is retained on your credit report only for a limited time.

You may be able to improve your credit report by:

  • Making sure all payments for bills and credit accounts are made on time
  • Accessing a copy of your credit report and correcting errors on your credit report with the relevant credit provider or credit reporting body
  • Turning on SMS or other notifications for upcoming payment reminders
  • Checking out the Credit Smart website for more great tips on managing your credit

Even if you pay your bills on time, you should check your credit report at least once per year to make sure that you haven’t been a victim of identity theft and that there are no errors in the report.

Learn more about credit and privacy

Credit Smart – an information website developed by credit experts in conjunction with consumer advocates and government bodies to help consumers understand credit reporting. The site has some frequently asked questions, as well as a number of handy fact sheets available.

Money Smart – a financial literacy website developed by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) to help people make the most of their money.

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner – an independent Federal Government agency responsible for freedom of information, privacy and information policy.