How To Get A Free Credit Report In New Zealand

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Credit File InformationIn modern times, a credit report is pulled on an individual almost any time they deal in any financial transaction more complicated than a visit to the grocery store. Credit repots are even examined in situations where a creditor is never going to be involved: inquisitive employers will view credit reports before hiring a prospective employee to see if his or her personal life might interfere with work, and landlords might check a credit report before renting an apartment as an indicator of responsibility even though you would be paying in cash every week anyway.

The amount of stock placed in credit reports by those who pull them is often more than the data actually warrants. Credit reports are prepared by for-profit companies and not any kind of government institution, meaning they are not held accountable for the accuracy of those reports except in the barest degree required by law, and since they are huge corporations, changing erroneous information or attempting to receive compensation due to opportunities lost from bad information can be extremely troublesome and difficult.

For all these reasons, it is vital to keep tabs on your own credit report, both so you can know what those you do business with see when they look you up, and so you can try and strike any misinformation from the report before it does you harm. In New Zealand, there are two primary providers of credit reporting services: Veda Advantage Limited and Dun & Bradstreet. You never know if a particular inquiry into your credit will be to one of the two companies or to both, so you should always request forms from each company.

In December 2004, New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner introduced legislation known as the Credit Reporting Privacy Code of 2004. The law gives New Zealand residents the right to request free access to their credit report from the two credit reporting agencies for purposes of checking accuracy. While the companies cannot charge you for access to your report, it will normally take about three weeks to process the request and receive your report. If you require faster access, the companies are able to ask a “reasonable charge” depending on the speed necessary.

Upon making a request to Veda Advantage Limited, you should receive your credit file within twenty working days – so, budget one month to receive your file before you actually need it. When requesting your free credit report, you must provide Veda with a laundry list of identifying information. Be prepared with:

• Your full name, as well as any aliases, secondary names, maiden names, or anything else you go by in past or present
• Date of birth
• Driver’s license number
• Two forms of identification. Photocopied current driver’s license, current passport, or community services card are valid as long as they display your signature. Any document issued by an official body including your name and address are also valid, including utilities bills, bank statements, and rates notices
• Your current residential address
• Any previous residential address
• Your current employer and occupation
• Any previous employers and occupations
• The name of the company from whom you last requested credit; might include a credit card company, adjustment to your mortgage, or establishment of a new account such as a new electricity company or a new mobile phone contract)
• Notice of any default, bankruptcy, judgment, or insolvency you may have been subject to
• Notice if you are a company director or have been in the past seven years
• A contact phone number where they can reach you during the daytime
• Your current email address
• Your signature
• A form available on Veta Advantage Limited’s website

Once the form is filled out and all necessary information prepared, it should be sent to the address below:

Veda (NZ) Limited
Public Access Information Services & Solutions (NZ)
Private Bag 92156, Auckland Mail Centre
Auckland 1142

You can request your report from the New Zealand arm of Dun & Bradstreet at their website. Their online form will request much of the same information as that required by Veda, so be sure to have it prepared as you begin the request process. If you prefer, a form can also be found on their website, printed, and mailed along with the required information to receive your credit report by mail. The address the Dun & Bradstreet form should be sent to is:

D&B Consumer Credit – Attention: Public Access Centre
PO Box 9589 Newmarket – AUCKLAND

After changes implemented on April 1, 2012, your credit report will have ten primary pieces of information on it. They are:

1. Your personal details, including name, gender, residential addresses both current and most recent previous address, birth date, and current employer
2. Any bankruptcy acts applicable to you
3. Any court judgments filed against you, plus other legal information available on your public record
4. Information on debt defaults or late payments
5. Total number of credit inquiries, to whom they were made, and date of each inquiry
6. Type of credit account for each listing
7. Amount of credit limit for each listing
8. Repayment history for each account for the past two years
9. Date each credit account was opened and, if applicable, closed
10. Information about the lender for each credit account

Despite the wealth of personal information available in the report, some more private details are not included. Information that should never appear on a credit report includes:

• Religious, political, or social beliefs, affiliations, or practices
• Criminal records of any kind
• Medical history, including any physical or mental handicaps
• Ethnicity, nationality, or race
• Sexual preference
• Any information about personal character, reputation, or lifestyle

How long damaging information stays on your credit repot differs depending on the information and the reporting agency. For Dun & Bradstreet, information is retained on the report as follows:

• 3 years – Summons information
• 5 years – Credit defaults (even if the amount is eventually paid in full); judgments against the borrower; credit inquiries of all stripes
• 7 years – Bankruptcy
For Veda Advantage Limited, relevant periods are:

• 4 years – No Asset Procedures, measured from date of discharge of the NAP; a single bankruptcy
• 5 years – Payment defaults and overdue account collections (even when the amount is eventually paid in full); Summary Installment Orders, measured from date of order; Credit inquiries of all kinds; Court judgments
• Indefinite – Multiple bankruptcies (including a No Asset Procedure and one bankruptcy)

Since the periods for many credit infractions are so long, it can be difficult to receive credit at reasonable interest rates with even one or two black marks on your credit report. If you do know that you are delinquent on a particular account, it may be worth the effort to negotiate with the creditor to get the mark removed from your credit report (which they can sometimes do by contacting the credit reporting agencies). For example, if you contact the lender offering to repay the delinquent amount in full if they agree to keep the incident off your report, they may agree if only to settle the issue once and for all.

Considering the wealth of personal information available on a credit report, generally only those in the business of providing credit can access it. Other than you yourself, the parties that can access your credit report include credit providers, mortgage insurers, other credit reporting agencies, and trade insurers. Law enforcement authorities can draw your report as part of an investigation into serious credit infringement. Disclosure can also be allowed to anyone otherwise permitted by law.

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