More than ever, a healthy credit score means an easier process when it comes to borrowing for personal or business needs.
NAB have developed a free credit health check tool which will be available for all Australians. The tool can be used by anyone (even non NAB customers) and will allow you to see your credit score AND importantly, all the items on your credit file which are contributing to the score. Knowing your score and what has been considered to arrive at that number is the first step to improving it.
Note that this health check is NOT a credit enquiry. You may be aware that having lots of credit enquiries on your file can cause your score to go down. Rest assured that your credit file will not be negatively impacted by this health check. Because of this, we recommend you check it as often as you like - those that are working to improve their credit score often check it on a monthly basis.
You can access the free NAB credit health report check out the tool here. To help you better understand the tool and why this is a great addition to the financing industry we’ll go into a bit more detail below.
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a score between 0 and 1,000. It indicates to banks and lenders how creditworthy you are, and how likely you are to pay your bills on time. Banks may use this information to determine whether they will lend money to you and at what conditions. The majority of credit scores are between 300 and 850. A higher score equals better credit health.
Why should I know my credit score?
Your creditworthiness is something which is easily overlooked, until it comes time to borrowing money. Many assume their credit score is good, but often get a shock when it comes time to borrow funds for business or personal use. As credit assessments have begun tightening up, it is more important than ever to have a good credit score when applying for loans.
Often credit scores are negatively impacted by erroneous records placed on credit files (particularly for those with common names – in fact, it’s not uncommon to see items appear on the wrong persons' credit file). Multiple credit applications, late payments, etc. can also have a negative effect on your credit score.
Being aware of your credit score before it comes time to borrow can; 1) allow you to change your behaviours to help improve your score and 2) give time to contact any organisations (ie banks, utility providers, credit card companies etc) to sort out any incorrect entries or misunderstandings/late payments. It can take some time to clean up your credit file, so starting now before needing to borrow is a great idea. If you credit score is in great shape - congratulations. If your credit score is less than ideal - not to worry, work through it and try to resolve any issues that are dragging down your score. Failing that, you can engage a credit repair company to come in and help you do it (they usually work on a no win no fee basis).
Why should I use this tool?
The benefit with NAB’s credit health report is that it is free and easy to access. Traditionally, regular checks on your credit rating can actually damage your credit score. This tool will not damage your credit rating, allowing you to check your credit score whenever you like.
Another benefit is the real-time nature of this tool. If you are actively working to improve your credit rating you can see it update in real-time. This is dependent on your lenders and banks updating the system regularly. If you are getting ready to borrow, we recommend you check it at least monthly – more frequently if you are working to get negative items removed from it.
Where to next?
As lending parameters tighten during the uncertainty of COVID-19, its more important than ever you monitor your credit score and actively improve it wherever possible. This will mean you will have a much easier time when it comes to asking your finance broker to get you a loan for your house, business, vehicle or other equipment. Check out the NAB credit health report here to get started.