Back

Module 1: Equifax, Experian and illion

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

Jim Rohn

Introduction

Now that you know more about your credit scores and credit reports, in today’s lesson we’re going to take a look at the three credit bureaus in Australia – Equifax, Experian and illion – the companies that calculate your credit scores.

Credit bureaus, also referred to as Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs) play a vital role in Australia. But you can be excused for not knowing who they are, or what, exactly, they do. But don’t worry – Tippla has your back!

In today’s lesson we will cover:

  • What is a credit bureau?
  • Who are the credit bureaus in Australia?
  • Why are credit bureaus important?
  • Which credit score matters the most?

And more! So let’s get stuck in.

What is a credit bureau?

Firstly, let’s cover one of the most important questions – what is a credit bureau? A credit bureau, or CRA, is a company that collects information associated with the credit scores of individuals. 

As we addressed in our previous lesson, your credit score is based on your recent credit history. Therefore, if you have any type of credit – say a loan, credit card, or utilities, then the company you have that credit with will report that information to a credit bureau. 

With the implementation of Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR) in 2018, credit providers such as banks, non-bank lenders, credit unions and more, don’t just report negative entries – such as defaults or serious credit infringements. Now, in order to give a more complete overview of an individual’s credit history, companies are encouraged to provide more information. The information they report can include your credit limit, repayment history, open accounts and similar details.

CRAs collect all the information reported to them and generate credit scores and credit reports for individuals. They then make that information available to banks, non-bank lenders, and other credit providers, with the individual’s consent to allow them to make informed decisions when extending credit.

Who are the credit bureaus in Australia?

The name of this lesson might have already given it away, but the three credit bureaus in Australia are Equifax, Experian and illion (formerly Dun & Bradstreet). Each of these companies collects credit information provided to them and calculate credit scores for individuals in Australia.

Whilst each of these three companies perform the same role in society, there are some subtle differences between the three of them, which we’ll explore now.

Equifax

Equifax, a credit bureau with a large global presence, operating in 24 countries. In Australia, Equifax is the largest of the three credit bureaus. It provides both personal and business credit reports across the country

You can get your credit report directly from Equifax. However, it will typically take 10 business days to receive your report and you can only order your report for free once every 90 days. If you want to order your credit report more frequently or get it faster, then you might have to pay. Alternatively, you can use a platform like Tippla, where you can see your Equifax and Experian credit reports for free and within minutes.

Experian

Experian is also a global credit bureau, operating in 37 different countries. Just like with Equifax, you can order a free copy of your credit report with Experian. However, in addition to its credit services, the company also provides decision-analytic and marketing assistance to businesses. This includes individual fingerprinting and targeting.

illion

Last, but not least, is illion, formerly known as Dun & Bradstreet. This CRA provides credit reports both for individuals and companies. Similar to Equifax, the company doesn’t just generate credit reports, it also provides debt recovery services.

Why are credit bureaus important?

By creating credit reports for individuals and businesses, credit bureaus allow lenders to make an informed decision when determining whether to approve or reject an application for credit.

Whilst your credit report and score aren’t the only thing lenders consider when evaluating your application, it is an important factor, and can be the difference between you being accepted or rejected for a loan or other type of credit.

Therefore, credit bureaus fill an important role for allowing lenders to make informed decisions and properly evaluate the risk of lending to each borrower. However, they also perform an important role for consumers.

Knowing your credit score, understanding your credit report, and realising what influences your rating, is powerful knowledge. With this knowledge, you have the power to improve your credit score and increase your creditworthiness. This can unlock better financial options and help set your future self up for success.

Which credit score matters the most?

As we’ve covered already, in Australia you have three credit scores. But does one matter more than the others? Is one of your credit scores used more often by lenders to assess your creditworthiness than the other two? Unfortunately, it’s not such a clear-cut answer. 

When you apply for a loan, credit card, or another type of credit, the company you are applying to will check your credit score and credit report. It will depend on the company as to which credit report they will check. Some companies might only check one of your credit reports and scores, however, others might check two, or even all three.

Therefore, in answer to the question of which credit score matters most, the simple answer is that all of them matter equally. This is because any of your three credit scores can be used to assess your creditworthiness. That’s why it’s important to ensure that all the information on each of your credit reports is accurate and up-to-date. 

Can I see my credit score on my credit report?

When you order your credit report directly from the credit bureaus, can you also see your credit score? Here’s what the bureaus have to say:

Equifax

According to Equifax, the following information will be available when you order your Equifax credit report:

  • Credit rating
  • Key factors impacting your credit rating 
  • Credit products you currently hold
  • Past applications you have made for credit
  • Repayment history (subject to your lender providing this information to Equifax)
  • Overdue debts that you have been listed as a default

Experian

Your Experian credit report shows your:

  • Financial behaviour
  • Credit history
  • Credit accounts
  • Your credit score

illion

illion also outlines that when you apply for your credit report, you will also be able to view your illion credit score.