If you want to be A+ student in your financial life, then the holy grail is a perfect credit score, but can the average person actually achieve this?
The answer is yes BUT less than 0.5% of Australians are likely to have a perfect credit score, according to our new research.
With the big banks now reporting more of Australians’ credit data through Comprehensive Credit Reporting this is likely to rise with 90% of the population seeing improvement to their score post-CCR.
Who are the top borrowers?
We’re seeing one consistent behaviour across all “top” borrowers: they always pay their bills on time.
They are male or female, generally pay more than the minimum monthly repayment on their credit card bills and are more likely to own their own home.
Our CEO Stuart Stoyan says getting a perfect credit score (the actual number will vary depending on which credit bureau you use) isn’t needed, but hitting the “excellent” range would bring benefit to any Aussie applying for credit.
Mr Stoyan says it is important to note that even if you had a perfect bureau score, lenders will likely take a broader range of factors into account when deciding whether to approve your loan.
“While we aren’t at the point of the US where a good credit score will help you get a better date, a high credit score means you will increasingly able to access cheaper interest rates and therefore save thousands of dollars,” Mr Stoyan says.
He says what Australians need to be aware of is how quickly your credit score could take a dive – this is even more important with Comprehensive Credit Reporting about to come into full force.
“There are actions you can take that would seriously hurt your score in just a few months or even as fast as one day like applying for multiple payday loans.”
Quick tips for a better credit score
- Regularly pay all loans and bills on time (Tip: Set up direct debits to ensure you meet payments on time)
- Only apply for new loans / take up credit limit increases when you really need it
- Use credit within your means (ie pay off full credit card bill monthly)
- Be a home owner: 75% of top borrowers own their own home
- Pay late or dishonour
- Use payday / rent-to-own services with high interest rates
- Make multiple credit enquiries in short time (e.g. apply for two credit cards for the frequent flier points)
BIGGEST SURPRISE TRAPS:
- Getting multiple credit cards in a short space of time
- Increasing your credit card limit
- Eligibility or checking (with providers that hit your file)
- A “thin” file: no credit history may mean a low score and potential inability to get a loan