All of us undergo regular health check ups to screen health issues and maintain optimal health, but have you ever thought of your financial health in the same way?
Ever considered regular checks to maintain your financial health optimally?
Most of us only ever bother about our credit file before applying for a home loan – however, that may be too late and lead to higher interest rate on your home loan or not getting any home loan at all!
Regularly reviewing your credit file and keeping it clean and clear can help you in more ways than one.
Here are some tips to help you maintain a clean credit file:
1. Review your credit report periodically- It is possible to obtain a copy of your free credit report once in 12 months from websites such as https://www.mycreditfile.com.au and https://www.veda.com.au.
2. Identifying defaults- Once you receive your credit file, usually within 10 days of requesting for it, review it thoroughly for any black marks or payment defaults. Following are the areas that demand particular attention:
- Payment defaults– Defaulting on utility payments (even a $100 phone bill) can bring down your credit score significantly. Payment defaults (that is payments that remain unpaid for over 60 days) stay on your file for up to 5 years, making lenders wary of lending to you. When you move houses or change phone numbers, do inform your credit card provider and other service providers so that they can contact you in case of any outstanding debts. If creditors are unable to reach you for 6 months, this credit infringement can stay on your file for 7 years adversely affecting your credit score.
- Missed payments– Missing your home loan repayments or not paying your credit card bills in time can leave a blotch on your credit file for up to 2 years. This lowers your credit score as well as your credit worthiness in the eyes of potential lenders.
- Enquiries– Do not file home loan applications unless you are sure of your chances of approval. Any enquiry that you make for debt is recorded and stays on your credit file for up to 5 years.
- Court judgments, writs, summons and bankruptcy are all recorded on your credit file and can stay on for up to 5 years.
3. Repair that credit– Yes, bad credit can be repaired, but it may be a time consuming process. This is a twin process of identifying listings that shouldn’t have appeared on your credit file in the first place, and those that should have been removed by now. Immediately inform the concerned credit reporting agency of the errors so that they start an investigation.
It is possible to hire credit repair agencies to help clean your file, but it may be an expensive exercise. However, if your credit file is a mess, the cost of hiring a specialist may be much lesser than what you can save by getting better interest rates once your credit file has been fixed.
If you are planning to buy a home in the future, we recommend you pull out your credit file now and check for any issues.
Read the following Dos and Don’ts to maintain a clean credit file:
- Do pay your utility bills on time (set payment reminders on your phone).
- Do pay your home loan faster to be financially free soon.
- Do check your credit report regularly.
- Do not have overdue payments as these are not removed from your credit file once paid.
- Do not miss any repayments. It is possible to consolidate your debts and make one single repayment to cover everything. Know about refinancing here.
- Do apply for any loan only when you require it. All credit enquiries stay on your file and bring your credit score down.
Buying your house is a major financial decision and HashChing can help you get the best home loan deals in Australia by letting you compare weekly home loan deals. You could also get answers to your home loan queries from our expert brokers online, absolutely free of cost.
By Vidhu Bajaj