About credit scores
A credit score is a number between 0 and 1,000 that 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 should be able to get better offers from banks, telcos, insurance companies and utility companies. If your score is low, you should 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.
We reckon New Zealanders have the right to see their own credit information, so we’ve built this handy doodacky for you to get your info.
If you got a score of zero, sad face emoji. Scores can actually run well below zero, but for simplicity’s sake we show it as a zero – otherwise things would just get messy. If you’ve got a zero, you’ve got something bad on your file, such as a payment default, and potentially more than one naughty thing. You might have a court judgement, summons 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’ve probably also got a few credit enquiries on your file; this looks bad to credit providers too. So make sure you check out your full credit history and ensure what’s on there is correct. Pay back your debts, or at least put a plan together with the credit provider or collection agency handling it to pay it back.
You do also need to adjust your need for credit and spend the next few years building up a good history of not requiring credit. Potentially put some time into establishing a budget, use a prepay mobile, and try to save for items rather than using credit. If you do have credit facilities make sure you pay these on time. As you build up some 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.
So you got a low score: 1 – 300
You’ve probably got payment defaults or other bad data on your file, but you’re saved from having a zero score by also having some positive account payment information (when you do pay your bills on time). If you don’t have defaults or other bad data such as a bankruptcy, then you’ve probably got poor payment history (such as paying late). You could also have a high number of credit enquiries, especially recent ones and for small amounts.
Below average: 300 – 500
If your score is between 300 and 500, you’re slightly below average, but you probably won’t have anything really negative (defaults, behind in your payments, judgements, summons, court writs) on your file. It could be that you are in the younger age bracket which is slightly more risky, and you may have recently applied for one or more smaller credit facilities or to credit providers that offer services to higher risk customers.
Middle of the road: 500 – 700
Your score aligns with the majority of people. Smaller things will push the score up, such as your age or having a mortgage. There’s probably not much information available about your credit history, which on a positive 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 of the credit providers).
Woohoo! More than 700
You’re basically magical, and if you’re 900 or more, you’re a credit unicorn. Scoring above 700 puts you into the high end of the score ranges. Scoring in this range will often be associated with being in the older age groups, having been fairly disciplined with your applications for credit and not making too many applications, having a mortgage and/or an investment property. And constantly paying your accounts on time.
If your score isn’t as high as you think it should be, this could be because your current credit provider isn’t yet actively participating in comprehensive credit reporting – so they aren’t supplying their payment data to credit reporting agencies.
If you’ve never applied for credit, you probably won’t have a credit score. However the majority of people have a credit history. 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 after you leave home.
You can end up with a bad score for many reasons, such as if you fail to pay your bills, if you apply for credit too often, and even if your partner defaults on a debt that also has your name on it. 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.
Make sure you pay your accounts on time
As we transition to comprehensive reporting the easiest thing to do is to ensure you have your accounts up to date and keep them up to date. A consumer who has a good track record of paying for a credit product on time regularly is likely to keep doing that – and that’s what companies love.
We all do it, but we can’t control it: growing old. History shows that the older a person gets the more responsible they become with their credit and spending, so your credit score reflects this a wee bit. Young people will usually have a lower credit score than older people.
Don’t make too many applications for credit
Having a lot of enquiries in a short timeframe is not a good thing. Typical behaviour such as applying for a mortgage or the occasional personal loan or credit card are not necessarily bad, but if you’re constantly applying for small loans or have a lot of enquiries on your file within a short time period then this will negatively impact your score. Applying for a lot of credit cards within the last couple of years is not ideal.
This isn’t about how much credit you have (i.e. how many loans or credit cards) but if you have one reasonable loan you’re servicing well or if you’re in a position of having to keep applying for new loans. Having a mortgage is more a good thing than a bad thing. But having to constantly get new loans or credit cards doesn’t look good. Data shows that consumers who constantly apply for more credit end up significantly more likely to default.
There’s a difference between a credit enquiry and a credit access. You can access your credit history and credit score as many times as you want (such as with Credit Simple) and it won’t affect your score.
If you’ve defaulted, pay it up
The default will stay on your file for five years regardless of whether or not you pay it, but if you pay it up it will reduce the negative impact and make you look more responsible. Over time the impact of defaults will reduce. If you’ve got two or more unpaid debts then this will impact your score quite significantly, as well as not paying on time.
Our score comes from illion, an internationally trusted credit reporting agency that’s been operating in New Zealand since 1903. illion follows all privacy and data guidelines and requirements, and has a large team of people collecting information directly from companies you do business with (such as banks, telcos, insurance providers and utility companies). Your score is calculated from this information. If you find something you think is incorrect, you can query it directly while you’re logged in to Credit Simple.
Your score is made up of lots of aspects, such as payment defaults, court judgements, how often you’ve applied for credit, and even if your partner defaults on a debt that has your name on it. To make sure you get the best score possible, make sure you access your credit information through Credit Simple and fix up anything that’s wrong, such as bills you haven’t paid.
Ranking information allows you to see how your score ranks against scores of other people in your street, star sign, age bracket, postcode and gender. This information is displayed on the dashboard as a point of interest only (things such as star sign are not used to calculate your credit score).
Ranking information indicates how your score compares to other people’s scores. You could have quite a high score, yet when compared to the scores of those around you, your score might by quite low by comparison. This could cause you to have a low ranking, even though your score is healthy.
LOL, nope, it’s not used to calculate your credit score in any way. We just put it into the dashboard as a point of interest. According to our astrologer Venus de Magicpants, Sagittarius is the most financially responsible star sign. We’ll crunch some numbers and let you know.
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 Credit Simple, you can see what your score is and how you compare to others. A credit report is a full history of your bill payments, any defaults, court judgements, and how much credit you have (such as a mortgage or credit cards). And good news: we now have positive credit reporting in New Zealand, which means paying your bills in full and on time is also recorded, so if you’re financially responsible, it will bump your score up.
Nothing! You can access your credit score instantly here. It’s free, immediate and easy. You can also request your credit report from any of the three New Zealand credit agencies (illion, Equifax and Centrix) and you won’t have to pay, although you may have to wait a few days for it to arrive.
Companies that give credit (such as banks, telcos, 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 decisions about lending.
Yeah bro. If you’re not a kiwi resident head on over to our Australian website: www.creditsimple.com.au
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 why your credit score may change are:
- Data is only held on your credit file for a certain amount of time, something that is decided by privacy laws. A default from 10 years ago (for example) won’t affect your credit rating today. Information can drop off your credit file as it gets older, which can change your credit score.
- 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.
- 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. If you have specific questions about your credit file, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Using Credit Simple to access your credit history and credit score won’t affect your credit score.
Each Credit Simple access will be recorded (date & time) in your credit history for your reference, this will not impact your score or ability to obtain credit no matter how many times you view this information.
About Credit Simple
Credit Simple is part of a group of companies which includes illion New Zealand Limited, a leading credit bureau in New Zealand. Credit Simple operates entirely separately from illion and has complete independence.
Absolutely. While we present deals from banks, telcos, energy providers and other companies, we aren’t obliged to give them favourable editorial coverage. You should be aware that we don’t provide any advice because we don’t know your complete financial situation (such as your income, expenses and life needs) or your personal objectives. So if you need help you should talk to a qualified financial advisor.
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When you apply for credit (such as with a bank, telco, insurance company or utility company), they’ll ask your permission to access your credit history (this is usually in the terms and conditions).
Occasionally landlords will ask to do a credit check on you if you’ve applied for a tenancy, and prospective employers may also want to access your credit information.
However employers should only do so if your position involves significant financial risk.
Government departments can access your credit file without your permission. This is recorded on your file as a credit ‘access’ and doesn’t affect your score.
Our credit data is retrieved and stored by illion. All data is secured via best-in-market security systems. It’s encrypted at rest and in transport. We’re super vigilant about security and authentication – we know you take it seriously, and we do too.
No. When you log into Credit Simple you’re asked to identify yourself through information not everyone would know, e.g. a series of questions that only you will know the answers to, and your driver’s licence or passport.
This is called identity theft, and it’s illegal. In order to see someone’s credit score, you would need key information such as full name, date of birth and current address, plus you’ll need to have access to their ID. If you have that information about someone, that person is probably your partner or a family member. Remember that it’s best to keep your ID secure, as identity theft is a very real risk.
No, we’re not allowed to, and we like you, so we wouldn’t do that to you anyway. Under the Privacy Act, your personal information cannot be used for marketing goods or services to you without your authorisation.
We’ve worked with New Zealand government agencies to find a best practice way for you to authenticate your identity, so that only you can access your information. A New Zealand passport or driver’s licence is the most common form of identification, so we use these to authenticate your registration. Unfortunately you can’t use an overseas passport or driver’s licence, because there are too many countries in the world for that sort of caper.
You can still register manually (without a New Zealand passport or driver’s licence) by selecting the option “None of the above” as the Proof of ID type upon registration and supplying accompanying documents online.
If this has happened, contact us here. Bear in mind sometimes the companies who provide data make mistakes too, so you may need to contact them directly to get the information corrected.
Our website has a handy tool that allows you to apply to have any incorrect data corrected with illion.
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