Are women being secretly discriminated against by credit reporting bodies?
Exactly how credit reporting bodies like Equifax, Illion and Experian come up with your credit score is somewhat of a mystery as each uses a slightly different formula to assess your creditworthiness.
We do know, however, that they do discriminate, in fact, that is their whole job, to discriminate.
To discriminate who is good with money and who isn’t, and who should get credit and who shouldn’t.
We assume (we say assume because it’s all a big secret), for example, you are discriminated against based on:
- where you live,
- on the job you have,
- how long you’ve been in that job and of course
- how good you’ve been at paying your debts in the past.
But do they discriminate based on gender?
Well leading Australian consumer and financial law firm MyCRA Lawyers says it’s highly likely they do.
MyCRA Lawyers CEO Graham Doessel says there is no shortage of evidence around the world that women are worse of financially than men, so it’s highly likely credit reporting bodies mark women down on their credit score simply because they are women.
A 2009 the Australian Human Rights Commission released a report ‘Accumulating poverty?
Women’s experiences of inequality over the lifecycle’ which puts a magnifying glass over a host causes to why women are worse off than men financially.
“The report looks at issues like:
- the gender pay gap,
- career progression,
- maternity and parental leave,
- gendered ageism, and
- their effect on women’s financial position.
“All factors I am willing to bet, Credit Reporting Bodies would take into account when assessing a person’s creditworthiness, and could easily be grouped under the box male or female when ticked in your credit score calculation,” Mr Doessel said.
According to OECD figures, a host of statistics could be broadly attributed to women like their level of employment or unemployment and at what age they are likely to leave or re-enter the workforce.
“Problem is we don’t know for sure because Credit Reporting Bodies keep secret exactly what data they use, and what they give each factor when it comes to calculating a credit score.
“We believe it’s high time that gender was taken out of the equation, to ensure women have equal access to finance, after all, numbers don’t lie and your sex shouldn’t affect someone’s ability to repay a loan.
“I know many women who are far better with a budget than many men,” Mr Doessel said.
“It is quite possible Credit Reporting Bodies are in fact breaching anti-discrimination legislation but we just don’t know because they aren’t transparent.
“How do you test this, well short of someone checking their credit score before changing genders as male then again after transitioning to female, its almost impossible.
“Why is this a problem? If women indeed have a tougher time getting credit, it may exclude them from a host of wealth-building opportunities like buying a home or getting small business loans.
“We believe it’s time they were made disclose how they calculate a person’s credit score and made remove gender from the calculation,” Mr Doessel said.
If you need to check your credit score now, go to www.FreeCreditRating.com.au today for instructions and free access links.