Frequently asked questions
Equifax powers the financial future of individuals and organisations around the world. Using the combined strength of unique trusted data, technology and innovative analytics, Equifax has grown from a consumer credit company into a leading provider of insights and knowledge that helps its customers make informed decisions. The company organises, assimilates and analyses data on more than 820 million consumers and more than 91 million businesses worldwide, and its database includes employee data contributed from more than 6,600 employers.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe and more recently in the Asia Pacific region, with the acquisition of Veda, a data analytics company and the leading provider of credit information and analysis in Australia and New Zealand. Combined the companies bring nearly 170 years of data and insights experience to the marketplace.
Equifax is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index, and its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. Equifax employs approximately 9,400 employees worldwide.
Established in New Zealand as Baynet in 1971, Veda was a data analytics company and the leading provider of credit information and analysis in Australia and New Zealand.
In February 2016, Veda was acquired by Equifax, a global leading provider of insights and knowledge that helps its customers make informed decisions.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe and more recently in the Asia Pacific region, with the acquisition of Veda. Combined the companies bring nearly 170 years of data and insights experience to the marketplace.
Yes. Simply download an application form for your free personal credit file, complete the details and send it to us via mail at the address detailed on the form.
The PDF attachment is designed for viewing through your computer. Some mobile devices are not compatible with password protected PDF files.
To open your credit file you may need a PDF reader app which can be downloaded from your app store.
The PDF app may provide the ability to open password protected PDFs. There are various apps available depending on mobile operating system.
Please visit your app store to determine which app is best for you.
Your file contains important personal information that should not be accessed by anyone else without your permission.
In order to help keep this information secure, Equifax has password protected the file.
If you cannot open the PDF, you may need to download Adobe Reader and install on your computer - it's free.
Below is a sample of what an alert may look like:
My Credit Alert: Activity has occurred on your Credit File.
Below is additional information we received for your credit file you have requested us to monitor.
If you have any questions regarding this information please do not hesitate to contact our Personal Information Team on 0800 692 733 (MYCREDITINFO).
Hits to Date:
REASON: (i.e. Consumer inquiry etc.)
Equifax Score Rating is a service where all of the information on your credit file is evaluated to produce a single score out of 1,000. When you apply for credit, this rating is calculated at the time of application by a mathematical equation which analyses multiple types of information from your credit file, and then compares this information to the patterns of a vast number of past credit files.
The Equifax Score Rating estimates your level of future credit risk and your ability to repay the amount that you will owe. Credit providers and other companies who have the authority to access your credit file in accordance to the Credit Reporting Privacy Code 2004 (the Code) can use your Equifax Score Rating to assess your intention and ability to make payments.
Some of our subscribers use a different name for the Equifax Score Rating but the information is always provided by us. The subscribers view a more complex score using a blend of scoring models called Equifax Score Plus. In contrast the Equifax Score Rating is designed to be more easily understood by an individual.
The ability to quickly, fairly and consistently consider all of this information, including the relationships between different types of information, is what makes credit scoring so useful.
Your Equifax Score Rating is included with your credit report when you purchase My Credit Alert.
From 2 April 2012, we do not print Equifax Score Ratings for My Credit File or My Credit File Express applications. We provide you with the information held about you on the Bureau. As the Equifax Score Rating is generated at a point in time; it is not information that is held on the Bureau about you.
* Equifax Score Ratings are not provided when any insolvency information is present on your credit file. Insolvency information remains on your credit file for four years from the date of discharge.
You are entitled to access any credit information that we hold about you. When applying for access please provide us with sufficient data to enable us to verify your identity. Please note; where we are unable to verify your identity we may ask you for additional information before we can provide you with your credit file. This is to protect you from identity fraud.
You are entitled to get a copy of your credit report for free (to be supplied within 20 business days) or if you require this more quickly for a modest amount (to be supplied within 5 business days).
In addition, Equifax does offer other services. All services are set out below and described in detail on our products page.
- My Credit File - Your credit file will be dispatched to you within 20 working days, free of charge. You can request your credit report online or download an application form.
- My Credit File Express – Your credit file will be dispatched to you within five working days, for $9.95 inclusive of GST.
- My Credit Alert – For a 12 month subscription receive an email alert whenever certain changes occur on your credit file. This includes new credit enquiries which could alert you to potential fraud. You will also receive your credit report, dispatched to you within one working day for $59.95 per year inclusive of GST.
Please note that you may only request a copy of your own personal credit file. Find out more about these services.
* Equifax Score Ratings are not provided when any insolvency information is present on your credit file. Insolvency information remains on your credit file for four years from the date of discharge.
Not in all cases.
However, most credit providers have a credit checking process in place when considering applications for credit or supplying goods and services where payment is deferred. A credit check helps to ensure that their credit decision is sound before approving or declining an application for credit.
All credit providers need to be assured that before offering credit that the applicant has a good credit history and has the ability to manage their credit exposure.
- Full name
- Last reported and previous addresses
- Date of birth
- Who has made credit inquiries about you and when
- Records of credit payment defaults (if any)
- Records of Credit Accounts, (e.g. credit cards, personal loans, utility accounts, mobile phone accounts and mortgages in your name), which show:
- Creditor Name
- Account Limit
- Account Status
- Opened/Closed Date
- Payment Frequency
- Your repayment history over the past 24 month period
Note: your credit file may not reflect all your credit accounts as not all creditors supply information to us.
- District and High Court judgments (if any)
- Insolvency information (if any)
- Records of any ID you have reported lost or stolen
- Collections Data (if any)
- Collection Agency defaults (if any)
No. Only people who are, or have been, credit active in New Zealand will have a credit file. Credit information held on an individual will only remain on the file for up to 5 years.
If you have any unpaid court fines or unpaid reparation, they are not recorded on your credit file.
However they may be included when a credit check is conducted by your credit provider. As a result unpaid fines may affect you being able to get credit.
Find out more on the Ministry of Justice website at fines.govt.nz.
No, they will only be able to see the negative data listed previously (as they have always been able to).
1. Credit providers (these include: banks, finance companies, electricity retailers, gas retailers or telecommunications service providers) can access your credit file for the following purpose:
- Opening a new loan/account. We call this access: Account origination
- Managing your account (i.e. an increase to a loan or when reviewing your current credit card limit etc.). We call this access: Account management Access.
- When you haven’t met your payment obligation. We call this access: Account Management Collections.
2. A prospective insurer that is a registered insurer may access your credit file for the purpose of a decision on the underwriting or continuation of insurance in respect of a credit related transaction relating to an individual. They will see positive and negative data (even if they do not supply any positive data).
3. An example of what these other companies would be able to see is as follows:
Let’s say you have the following accounts:
A credit card with Bank A (who supplies positive data)
A home loan with Finance Company B (who does NOT supply positive data)
A phone account with Company X (who supplies positive data)
In this example, Bank A will be able to see the positive CR data Company X have supplied & vice versa.
Finance Company B however will only be able to see negative information and none of the positive CR data Company X and Bank A have reported.
Effectively what this means is: if the company provides positive data, they will see negative & positive data in return. If the company does not provide positive data, they will only see negative information when viewing your credit file.
Not all credit providers will provide account information to credit reporters. It is a business decision for each provider. Some may decide not to report information for some years or choose not to do so at all.
Credit reporters that do intend to provide account information to credit reporters need to make a number of changes to their IT systems and business processes. In some cases this may take many months or more than a year. In cases of delay, the credit provider will need to decide when to provide notice to customers – some may do so many months before they are ready to actually start reporting information.
Accordingly, notices may be expected to arrive any time from about February 2012 to the end of March 2013.
From 1 April 2012, the credit reporting law changed in New Zealand. Certain credit providers will be permitted to provide information about customers’ existing credit accounts to credit reporters. This new information will be included on credit reports.
The new details to be reported may include the amount of credit granted and, on a monthly basis, whether due payments have been made.
In addition to providers of financial credit – banks, building societies and finance companies etc. – certain providers of non-financial credit are permitted to provide account information to credit reporters. Those include gas and electricity retailers and telecommunications service providers.
As this is a major change from previous practice, credit providers must either get new authorisations from customers, or, if relying upon existing valid authorisations, must notify the affected customers of the new arrangements.
If you are a customer of a credit provider that intends to report the additional information to a credit reporter you may expect to receive a notice explaining the changes.
From 1st April 2012 additional information was permitted to be collected, held and disclosed by credit bureaus. Once this data has been supplied by credit providers, your credit history will include positive information such as:
- Type of credit account i.e. credit card, home loan etc.
- Amount of credit extended (limit) e.g. $5,000
- Capacity of individual (such as account holder, joint account holder or guarantor)
- Status of account (Date account opened/closed)
- Details of credit provider i.e. the name organisation / business the account is with
- 24 months repayment history
This is in addition to the existing negative information on your credit report such as:
- Personal details – name, address and date of birth
- Credit inquiry details
- Overdue debts like Payment Defaults (paid and unpaid)
- Court judgments
- Insolvency data
- Records of any ID reported lost or stolen
There are now more reasons to actively manage your credit profile so that you are well positioned under the new Comprehensive Credit Reporting System. You can track your credit reporting information through My Credit Alert product (this is a 12 month subscription) which includes your credit report.
In addition, you are also entitled to get a copy of your credit report for free (to be supplied within 20 business days) or if you require this more quickly for a modest amount (to be supplied within 5 business days) – you can find out more on our Products page.
The comprehensive credit reporting system gives New Zealanders more power to demonstrate credit worthiness and manage their credit profile.
- Highlights good credit behaviour: You will be able to demonstrate recent good credit behaviour because the Comprehensive Credit Reporting system records if you have made your credit payments on time.
- Faster recovery from adversity: You may improve your credit profile more quickly after an adverse financial event by showing good credit behaviour, potentially countering the impact of a default which may be up to five years old.
- Quicker to establish a credit report: For individuals new to consumer credit, the use of comprehensive information means that you can build credit worthiness more quickly. For example, if you are a young person or a recent arrival from overseas.
- A more balanced system: It is a more balanced and transparent system for consumers who already have a good credit history, as well as those who previously had trouble meeting their financial commitments – as it may enable them to access quality credit where they may not have been able to previously.
- A better deal with providers: With more complete credit bureau information and monthly updates, having a credit profile and showing good credit behaviour may become important in accessing credit at the best price.
From a consumer perspective, this repayment history could demonstrate whether current and/or recent financial commitments have been met or not. In an instance where a consumer, for example, loses their job and the situation results in payment defaults being loaded onto their credit file - these payment defaults remain on their credit file for five years.
Repayment history gives the consumer the ability to demonstrate they have rehabilitated their credit behaviour and facilities e.g. home loan, credit cards, personal loan etc. by showing a clear repayment history over a period of up to 24 months. This may then allow consumers' access to quality credit (assuming sufficient capacity to repay) notwithstanding the presence of payment defaults.
As it will take time for this new credit data to build up, the above benefits are likely to take some time to evolve.
Repayment history can provide valuable insight into the dynamic nature of account repayment history.
From a credit provider perspective, this information can alert credit providers to current hardship or financial struggle and ensure a customer isn't further indebted without having sufficient capacity to repay their financial commitments - hence avoiding further financial stress for the individual.
In 2012 the Credit Reporting Privacy Code 2004 (the Code), which is the regulation governing consumer credit reporting in New Zealand, was amended by the Privacy Commissioner to introduce comprehensive credit reporting. Comprehensive credit reporting changes the type of consumer credit information that can be collected by credit bureaus and used by credit providers when making a credit decisions. This change came into effect on 1 April 2012. A copy of the Code may be downloaded from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s website: www.privacy.org.nz
Previously New Zealand had a negative reporting system. This meant consumer credit reports could only contain information such as credit enquiries (typically applications for credit e.g. a personal loan or credit card) or the fact a particular credit provider or collection agency had loaded a credit payment default. Under the new comprehensive credit reporting system positive data is able to be included on credit reports and provided to eligible groups - this will provide a more balanced view of an individual’s credit history. Many developed countries in the world operate under a comprehensive credit reporting system already.
The positive data that can be included on credit reports includes account information such as the date an account was opened and closed, credit limit, type of credit account, as well as 24 months credit repayment history. Repayment history information can only be provided by and accessed by certain agencies. Those agencies are;
- Registered Credit Providers (i.e. Banks, Finance Companies),
- Telecommunications providers,
- Retail Gas and Power Utilities and;
- Insurers (for defined purposes).
As a consumer, you can access and view all information held in your credit file including any positive data that has been submitted.
Industry rules around data, standards and sharing may further limit those organisations that may access positive data.
You can find contact phone numbers for most New Zealand credit providers and collection agencies in our Creditor Contact Directory.
- All adverse information (i.e. collection data, default data, summary instalment orders and judgment records), remain on your credit file for five years.
- Previous inquiry information remains on your credit file for five years.
- Insolvency information, including record of entry into No Asset Procedure and single bankruptcy, may be held for four years from the date of discharge.
- Multiple insolvencies may be held indefinitely.
- Account Repayment History for up to 24 months.
An individual’s details will include name, date of birth, gender, and address history. These are held by us for the life of the credit file.
This information is used to distinguish the credit file information from other individuals that are held in the database.
NB: Even when a payment default has been remedied by the customer and brought up to date or paid in full, it will remain on your credit file for a period of five (5) years and then removed from your credit file. This becomes part of your credit history.
The amount of time taken to update information on your credit file can vary.
If a credit provider is updating an entry they have placed on your credit file, the maximum delay will be five working days from the time they notify Equifax of the required update. Depending on the communication method used by the credit provider, the update may be completed much more quickly.
If you need Equifax to update an entry or a disputed transaction then you will need you to notify us in writing as soon as possible.
Visit our Credit Disputes page to find out the process for disputing an entry on your credit report.
Visit our Credit Disputes page to find out how you can request a correction or investigation into an entry of public record information (e.g. bankruptcy, public notice, court judgment or directorship).
Visit our Credit Disputes page to find out the steps to dispute an entry on your credit file.
Visit our Credit Disputes page to find out how to correct or investigate the identity content of your credit report.
We will take reasonable steps to ensure the credit information we hold about you is accurate, and we will act promptly when we become aware of any errors, to correct them. This will usually involve checking the information you provide with the source, such as a subscriber (or creditor), who submitted a default (for example).
If you think there are inaccuracies in your credit file, there are steps you can take to request that any inaccuracy is corrected or investigated. These steps are outlined in the My Credit File Explained brochure, which you will receive when you order your personal credit file.
We will, as soon as is reasonably practicable, decide whether to make the correction you have requested or to confirm the accuracy of the information. If we need longer than 20 working days to make a decision, we will notify you of the extension and the reason for it. If the requested correction is not made, we will tell you the reason and you may ask to have a statement of the correction sought but not made. This statement will be included in your credit file.
If a correction is made or a correction statement added, we will send an amended report to any Equifax subscriber recorded as having accessed your credit file within the last 30 days, and also to you.
Information about a bankruptcy that has been discharged, or a default that has subsequently been paid in full, can continue to be reported on your credit file, provided it is updated to reflect the later developments, as it remains an accurate statement of those historical events.
As a consumer living in New Zealand, you have rights under the Privacy Act 1993 in relation to the access, storage and use of your personal credit information. The Privacy Act promotes and protects consumer privacy.
It has established privacy principles in relation to:
- The collection, use and disclosure by public and private sector agencies, of information relating to consumers.
- The access by each consumer to, and correction of, information relating to them which is held by public and private agencies.
The Privacy Act establishes 12 privacy principles:
- Principles 1,2,3 and 4 relate to the collection of personal information.
- Principles 5 and 9 relate to the storage of personal information.
- Principles 6 and 7 relate to the access and correction of personal information.
- Principles 8 and 10 relate to the use of personal information.
- Principle 11 relates to the disclosure of personal information.
- Principle 12 relates to the use of unique identifiers.
The Credit Reporting Privacy Code 2004 has been issued under the Privacy Act, and provides specific rights in relation to credit information held by Veda as part of our Consumer Credit Reporting Business.
Equifax supports the Code’s approach to promoting fairness, accuracy, and privacy in the practice of credit reporting.
You have certain rights with regard to personal credit information that we hold about you. In particular you can:
- access your own personal credit information
- request incorrect information to be amended or a statement of correction to be added to your credit file
- expect the information to be safely stored, and used by or disclosed only to authorised people
Where an overdue account showing on your file has been paid but not updated, call the credit provider or collection agent named on that entry and request they contact Equifax to make the correction.
Your credit file will be updated within five days of the credit provider notifying us that the account is paid.
Where an overdue account is showing that is not yours call the credit provider or collection agent named on that entry and give them the applicable reference number so they can investigate. If justified, the subscriber will then inform Equifax and the incorrect data will be removed.
A payment default is in simple terms an overdue account. In most cases they arise when a debt owed by you has become overdue (i.e. not paid within 30 days of the payment date printed on the Invoice by the credit provider).
Default information can be listed on your credit report if:
- your account has been outstanding for 30 days or longer
- you have not responded to the credit providers letters to pay the debt and they have written the account off
- you have not responded to the credit providers letters to pay the debt and they referred your account to a solicitor, collection agency or repossession agency to recover the debt on their behalf.
All overdue payment defaults may only be listed by the credit provider when they have taken the necessary steps to recover the whole, or any part of the debt owed by you. In all cases the credit provider must have requested the borrower (that is you), either in person or in writing, to pay the outstanding amount.
When you have paid the outstanding amount owing or brought your account up to date the credit provider is obliged by law to amend your credit file to reflect that the overdue account has been paid. When this happens an amended credit file is then automatically forwarded to any credit provider that may have requested a credit file on you 30 days prior to the update being made.
All payment defaults which are unpaid or overdue accounts remain listed on your credit file for a period of five (5) years, unless an investigation proves that the account was listed in error then in this case the information can be deleted by Equifax, provided the necessary documents provided demonstrate this.
Most credit providers look unfavourably on customers with a history of overdue accounts and other adverse information on file.
Equifax collects credit information directly from you as the consumer, from our subscribers (including banks, finance companies and other credit providers), or from public sources.
Our subscribers may supply your name, addresses, date of birth, gender, employer, occupation and the type of credit account you applied for. Details may also be provided relating to your repayment history on existing credit accounts you hold with a credit provider.
We also use information from public sources such as court records and newspapers, and other publicly available publications and databases.
Not in all cases.
There is no dollar limit that triggers a credit file check. In fact applications for services such as the purchase of mobile phones and the associated airtime may even appear as zero on your credit file. This is because the amount of the applicants' potential monthly bill is unknown. The same applies to electricity and gas providers.
The decision to decline your application for credit is made by the credit provider, not Equifax.
You are responsible for managing your finances and all applications for credit that you have applied for.
Have you been declined credit?
It's important to understand that your past behaviour, and management of your finances and accounts, can affect your ability to get access to credit. In some cases if you have lost your identify documents, or had them stolen, and not reported this to Equifax, criminals can attempt to apply for credit in your name and, if successful, they can open accounts and not repay them. This information will be reflected against your name.
You may discover that:
- You have payment defaults or collections (overdue accounts) that you had forgotten about
- The information on your credit file is incorrect
- Someone has been using your identity to obtain credit fraudulently and has defaulted on the payments.
It is also very important to understand that a credit provider may decline an application for credit even if payment defaults or collections (overdue accounts), court judgments, or insolvency information is registered on your credit file with a paid in full or settled status.
All credit providers have their own lending criteria and they will use their own methodology and credit decision metrics together with the information provided in your credit file. Depending on the amount of risk they wish to take they will decide on whether to approve or decline your credit application.
Where you believe that you have been, or are likely to be, a victim of fraud (including identity fraud) and you can verify who you are, you can contact a credit reporter (such as Equifax) and ask for an initial suppression for a ten day period.
In return you may be given a unique password or PIN.
This suppression (or ban), if you can verify your identity, and if granted, aims to block access to your credit file for the purpose of originating new credit - taking out a loan using your identity.
Please note: your credit file will still be updated with default information such as defaults on debts, judgments or insolvencies.
At the end of the ten days you may apply to extend the suppression but you will need to produce evidence of the likelihood of fraud e.g. a police report. You may also ask Equifax to lift the suppression to enable you to apply for credit.
Please contact us to find out more.
In order to report to Equifax that your ID has been lost or stolen you need to have already reported the ID as lost or stolen to the Police.
In order for Equifax to display that your ID has been lost or stolen on your credit file, we require the following information/documentation from you:
- A copy of the police report.
- A letter from you reporting your lost or stolen ID.
Yes. You can reduce the chances of credit fraud happening to you.
Equifax has a product called My Credit Alert which may be useful to help detect and prevent identity theft. Identity theft is when a person takes your identity details – such as your name, credit card number, or any other identifying information, without your permission and then uses your identity to obtain credit (i.e. to open accounts, take out loans, buy cars etc.).
My Credit Alert will notify you within 24 hours via email, with details of who is accessing your credit file and the purpose of this access.
Other steps to protect your identity:
- File a report with your local police station.
- Obtain a copy of your credit file to confirm if someone has used your identity.
- Contact the credit providers directly and inform them of the fraudulent activity, otherwise they will hold you liable and responsible for any bad debt incurred. Close any accounts that have been interfered with or opened fraudulently.
- Call and report the matter to each Credit Reporting Agency within New Zealand to notify them so that they can update their records.
Remember, identity theft can happen to anyone.
We recommend you regularly check your credit file. You can manage your credit reporting information throughout the year with My Credit Alert which includes your credit report and credit alerts.
You can find out more about all of our services on our Products page.
Credit fraud is a crime. If you believe that information held on your credit file has been caused by another individual fraudulently using your identity details, then you should immediately:
- Contact the police and report the crime
- Obtain a copy of your credit file if you haven’t already done so
- Contact the credit providers involved and inform them of the fraudulent activity, otherwise they may hold you responsible for any bad debt incurred
- Contact your solicitor who can assist you with this matter and communicate the theft to the applicable credit providers
When dealing with credit providers you must keep all notes of all the conversations you have, including names, contact number and the date that you spoke to them. Each credit provider is different and you need to ask questions to ensure that you understand their process on how they handle fraud.
The credit providers will then conduct their own investigations and they will notify Equifax of the outcome. When this is done we will be able to remove any fraudulent information from your credit file.
Another term for credit fraud is ‘identity theft’.
One of the most common forms of credit fraud is committed by 'criminals stealing' the identity of another individual.
This happens when someone steals or obtains your identity details without you knowing and uses the information to obtain credit for themselves and this can leave you with a bad credit record. This is because all criminals do not have the intention to pay the account off. This action leaves you with a debit for which you are liable for. It can damage your credit reputation and cause you continual distress until resolved.
If you suspect that your identity has been stolen then you are responsible for contacting the Police and your credit provider immediately to inform them of your situation.
You should also contact Equifax so that a record of this is loaded onto your credit file.
We recommend you regularly check your credit file. You can manage your credit reporting information throughout the year with My Credit Alert which includes your credit file. However, you are also entitled to get a copy of your credit report for free (to be supplied within 20 business days) or if you require this more quickly for a modest amount (to be supplied within 5 business days) – you can find out more on our Products page.