Are you aware of the changes to the Australian privacy laws?

Posted by Paul Ryan • 20 February 2014 • Tags:

For many years I have been a strong advocate of consumers being aware of how important their credit history is.

Having a clear credit history is an asset in itself as without one it is difficult to borrow money, obtain a lease on an apartment or even be able to sign up for utilities.

With this in mind it is extremely important we as consumers are fully aware of the changes to the Australian privacy laws that come into effect from 12 March 2014.

An interesting statistic from credit reporting organisation Veda found that 80% of Australians hadn’t checked their credit reports and 50% of them didn’t realise they had one.

Privacy.pngThe major changes centre on the ability for licenced credit providers to be able share information with each other. Up until now, credit providers have not been able to supply or share comprehensive repayment history.

In essence credit providers will now be able to share your 24 month repayment history for loans, credit cards and any other forms of credit.

So at any stage in the future when you apply for credit the providers will be able to access the previous 24 months repayment history from the other credit providers you have received credit from.

If you have been paying your loans on time then you will not have anything to worry about however if you have had an issue with one provider 18 months ago and are looking for a new provider then the previous issue is now going to appear on your credit report.

You can find out more about the changes by reviewing the website launched by the Australian Retail Credit Association –

The information can only be shared by credit providers and doesn’t allow for your repayment history for telephone, internet and utilities accounts to be recorded on a credit report.

To help you understand more about your own credit report, organisations such as Veda, Dun & Bradstreet and Experian Australia Credit Services can assist. Some of the information from individual organisations may vary so if you are concerned contact each of the organisations and see if they have a policy of providing a free annual report.

As Veda has reported most consumers are unaware of their credit history so it is a good idea to be proactive in contacting one of the above organisations. They will either give you peace of mind or allow you the opportunity to identify a problem and then be able to fix it.