About credit scores

What's a credit score?

A credit score is generally a number between 0 and 1,000 that shows you how banks and other lenders see you. Your credit score indicates how credit-worthy you are, and how likely you are to pay your bills on time. Most credit scores are between 300 and 850. The higher the score, the better your credit rating is.

A good score is more than 500, so if your score is high, you may be able to get better offers from banks, phone and internet providers, insurance companies and utility companies.

If your score is low, we recommend you find out what’s affecting it (for example, unpaid bills) and work to fix it. A bad score can lead to companies being reluctant to lend to you, or charging you a higher interest rate.

Understanding your credit score

Zero score
If you have a zero, there’s something negative on your file, such as a payment default. You might have a court judgment or bankruptcy. But you don’t need something that drastic to push your score down – even late payments look really bad to companies you want to get credit from. You probably have a few credit enquiries on your file, which means you’ve applied for credit and may have been declined.

As you build up a good credit history your score will change to reflect this. Unfortunately there’s no magic bullet and you will need to work at this over the next two years or more.

A low score: 1 – 299
If you’re here you probably have payment defaults or other negative data on your file.

If you don’t have defaults or other negative data such as a bankruptcy, then you may have a poor payment history (for example, late payments). You could also have a high number of credit enquiries, especially recent ones and for small amounts. This is likely to mean you’ve applied for credit and been declined.

Room for improvement: 300 – 499
If your score is between 300 and 499, it still needs improving, but you probably won’t have anything really negative (defaults, late payments, judgments) on your file.

It could be that you are in the younger age bracket, which lenders see as a bit riskier, and you may have recently applied for one or more smaller credit facilities or to credit providers that offer services to higher risk customers.

Good: 500 – 699
A score like this means there’s probably not much information available about your credit history, which probably means there’s nothing significantly negative.

It could also mean that your good history with your current credit provider is not yet being reported (credit reporting bureaus don’t yet have all the information from all credit providers).

Your score could also be impacted by your age or where you live - your credit score is generally higher the older you get.

Great: 700-799
If this is you, you’re probably paying your bills on time, but you might have a number of credit enquiries or applications for loans against your name. You might also be fairly new to credit, which means your credit history might not be long enough to put you in the ‘excellent’ category.

Excellent: 800-1000
Scoring in this range will often be associated with being in the older age groups, having been fairly disciplined with your credit applications , having a mortgage and/or an investment property. Constantly and consistently making payments on or ahead of time throughout your credit history has a big impact on your score as well.

Does everyone have a credit score?

If you’ve never applied for credit, you probably won’t have a credit score. However, the majority of people have a credit history and score.

If you’re under 18, you’re more likely to not have a credit score, as you need to have had a credit card, utility account or similar, which doesn’t usually happen until you’re an adult.

My credit score is low, how did that happen?

You can end up with a bad score for many reasons, such as if you fail to pay your bills, if you pay them late, if you apply for credit too often or even if your partner defaults on a debt that was in joint names.

Your score is determined by how you pay your bills. People who have clear evidence of paying their bills on time will have higher credit scores than people who regularly pay their bills late or not at all.

What can I do to get my score higher?

Here are some ways you can improve your score:

  • Make sure you check out your full credit history to ensure what’s there is correct.
  • Make sure you pay any credit products or bills on time - you can set up automatic transfers or direct debits to make sure you don’t forget.
  • Put a plan together with the credit provider or collection agency handling it to pay it back.
  • Adjust your need for credit and spending for the next few years building up a good history of not requiring credit.
  • Put some time into establishing a budget, use a prepaid mobile, and try to save for items rather than using credit.
What is the difference between a credit score and credit report?

A credit score is a number that indicates how credit-worthy you are and how likely you are to pay your bills on time. Through illion Credit Check, you can see what your score is and how you compare to others.

A credit report is more detailed - it’s a full history of your credit enquiries, bill payments, any defaults, court judgments and how much credit you have (such as a mortgage or credit cards).

How do I know my score is correct?

Your score is provided by illion, an internationally-trusted credit reporting agency that’s been operating in Australia since 1887.

illion has a large team of people collecting information directly from companies you do business with, such as banks, insurance providers and utility companies. Your score is calculated from this information.

How do I obtain a copy of my personal credit report?

You can request a copy of your personal credit report online. Your identity will need to be verified, so please ensure that the details you provide are complete and accurate. You are entitled to request your credit report for free once a year.

Alternatively, you may complete our Application for Personal Credit Report form to receive a copy of your credit report in the mail. In addition to completing the form, you will need to provide the following documents to verify your identity:

  1. A copy of your Driver’s Licence or Passport or Birth Certificate or Proof of Age card; AND
  2. A copy of a document issued by an official body (such as a utility bill or bank statement)

illion adheres to the Privacy Act, Credit Reporting Code of Conduct and the New Zealand Privacy Principles by providing you with the right to obtain a copy of your credit report.

What should I do if I find something on my credit report that looks incorrect?

If you find something on your credit report that you think is incorrect, you can raise a correction request via the ‘Help’ section available under your profile details on the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Why do you have all this information on me?

Companies that give credit (such as banks, telco, insurance companies and utility companies) want to know that customers have a good track record and are likely to pay their bills on time.

Credit agencies collect this information to help these companies make better informed decisions about lending.

You can read more about credit reporting agencies and your rights and privacy here.

My credit score has changed but nothing looks different on my file. Why?

There are a few reasons why your credit score can change, even though it doesn’t look like anything has changed on your credit history.

Some of the reasons your credit score may change include:

  1. Since data is only held on your credit file for a certain amount of time, information can ‘drop off’ your credit file as it gets older, which can change your credit score.
  2. How old your credit information is can also have an effect on your score – for example, a recent loan enquiry is more relevant than one you made four years ago.
  3. Credit providers sending monthly payment data to a credit bureau can also affect your score, as changes in the payment status of your account(s) happen. Even if you’ve been paying on time, the length of time you’ve been up to date could have an influence on your score.
Will checking my credit score change it?

Using illion Credit Check to see your credit score and credit history has no impact on your credit score.

How do I suppress my credit information?

The Credit Reporting Privacy Code 2004 gives you the right to request that a credit reporting agency, such as illion, suppress or freeze your credit information if you believe you are at risk of identity fraud. For more information and steps to suppress your consumer credit file please click here. To lodge a request to have your credit file suppressed please click here.

Your privacy

Who can see my credit information?

When you apply for credit (such as with a bank, telco, insurance company or utility company), they’ll obtain your permission to access your credit history (this is usually in their terms and conditions).

You can read more about who can access your credit report and under what conditions here.

Where is my information stored?

All data is secured via best-in-market security systems. It’s encrypted at rest and in transport.

What happens when I create an account?

By creating an account with illion Credit Check, you are allowing us to verify who you are and then provide you with a means of viewing your credit information securely. This will allow you to monitor changes over time. You can read our terms of use here.

Can someone else see my information?

No. When you sign up for illion Credit Check you’re asked to identify yourself with a series of questions that only you will know the answers to, such as past addresses and your driver’s licence number. We will securely verify that information before granting access.

If I have someone else's driver's licence or passport, I could see their score, how is that secure?

You can only use that information if you have their specific authority to do so. It is best to obtain this in writing.

How to raise a complaint to illion relating to my credit report?

If you find something on your credit report that you think is incorrect, you can raise a correction request via the ‘Help’ section available under your profile details on the top right-hand corner of the screen.

If you have a complaint relating to illion’s handling of your personal information or service provided by illion please refer to our Complaints Handling Procedure page here, this page includes the on-line form to raise your complaint.

No New Zealand identification documents

Can I register if I don't have a New Zealand passport or driver's licence?

A New Zealand passport or driver’s licence is the most common form of identification, so we use these to authenticate your registration.

You can still register manually (without any of these forms of ID) by:

  1. Selecting the option “None of the above” as the Proof of ID type upon registration and supplying accompanying documents online; OR
  2. Submitting a form with accompanying documents to our support team. Click here to find out how.

Business credit reports

What’s in a business credit report?

Your business credit report details your own credit liabilities and exposures to ensure that your business partners have the most accurate information possible to assess your credit standing.

Ordering your business report let’s you see what information your business partners have on you and gives you a clear picture of how risky your business is perceived to be.

Click here to learn more.

How do I order another company’s business credit report?

An illion business credit report gives you the complete picture of a company’s risk profile, so you’re better equipped to evaluate your business relationships.

You can order business credit reports, verify a company’s existence and find out if the entity is valid and operational, or learn about the identity of a company director via illion Express.

The illion Express service also provides immediate access to our commercial database, enabling you to conduct credit checks on individual businesses with ease.

Click here to find out more.

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The information provided on this website is general in nature and does not constitute personal financial advice. It has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making any decisions, it is important for you to consider your personal situation and seek appropriate tax, legal and other professional advice.