The Privacy Act 1988 (the Act), which is the legislation governing consumer credit reporting in Australia, has been amended to introduce comprehensive credit reporting. Comprehensive credit reporting changes the type of consumer credit information that can be collected by credit bureaus and used by credit providers when making a lending decision. This change came into effect on 12 March 2014.
Previously Australia had a negative reporting system. This meant consumer credit reports could only contain information such as credit enquiries (typically applications for credit e.g. a personal loan or credit card), the fact a particular credit provider had given you credit payment defaults and serious credit infringements.
Under the new comprehensive credit reporting system positive data is able to be included on credit reports. Most developed countries in the world operate under a comprehensive credit reporting system.
The positive data that can be included on credit reports includes account information such as the date an account was opened and closed, credit limit, type of credit account as well as 24 months repayment history. Repayment history information can only be provided by and shared with licenced credit providers – this doesn’t include telco and utility companies.