Australian miners – you may be the highest paid workers in the country, but in the credit rating repair profession, unfortunately you top the list as the occupation group most likely to get caught out with a bad credit rating. We tell you why you could be susceptible to a bad credit rating and how to ensure you keep your credit file clear – at home and away.
By Graham Doessel, Founder and CEO of MyCRA Credit Rating Repairs and www.fixmybadcredit.com.au.
If you are in the mining profession, a flight attendant, army personnel or any person whose profession takes you away from home, you can be likelier to suffer a negative listing on your credit file, namely because you can be away for long periods at a time, or because you can’t keep a close eye on day to day finances and accounts working such odd hours or geographical locations.
Checking all bills are paid on time and that the account is running as it should be is often difficult when you’re a transient worker.
Miners and other transient workers often set up direct debits for accounts, but this may not be enough to ensure your credit file remains clear. There can be a number of reasons why bills go to default stage – from correspondence not being read through to errors in the creditor’s billing system. Unfortunately transient workers often don’t receive notification that there is a problem until it is too late to rectify it and your credit rating suffers.
MyCRA client and transient worker, Shannon recently had us assist in removing a Telstra default from her credit file.
Shannon has worked as a chef in the mines for the past 8 years in Western Australia.
She had recently relocated to Western Australia, but unfortunately for various reasons many of her bills were not forwarded on to her new address following the move. This included a Telstra bill, which unfortunately went into default.
On top of not receiving many bills, she also received no notification her bills, and in particular her Telstra bill was going unpaid. She also wasn’t notified of the default that had been placed on her credit file.
It was only when Shannon applied for a home loan and was refused that she realised there was a problem with her account – and this is common.
Shannon says she was probably at a disadvantage due to the nature of her employment.
“In the mines, communication can be a problem. I can be out of contact for months at a time so it makes it difficult to keep on top of things. Telstra actually had addresses in their system that didn’t even exist. But this was the problem, I wasn’t getting all the correct information from where I was living, I had no idea the mail wasn’t coming,” she says.
Shannon recommends anyone who works away from home have a Post Office Box to reduce the risk of mail being stolen or damaged in transit, and so that people can keep on top of their own finances, rather than having to rely on others.
A credit file exists for anyone who has ever been ‘credit active’ and is used by creditors to assess risk and borrowing capacity of potential borrowers.
The most common type of adverse listing is a default. Defaults are put there by creditors when accounts have remained unpaid for more than 60 days. Defaults remain on a person’s credit file for 5 years from the date of listing, and have the potential to severely impact a person’s ability to obtain credit.
Currently, any default can be enough for an automatic decline with most of the major banks. Many lenders are even rejecting loans for excess enquiries such as two in thirty days or six within the year. Some people may even be unable to take out a mobile phone plan in their name if they have defaults on their credit file.
It is a good idea to take a hard-line approach to your finances and bill notifications to ensure you are not caught out by issues that arise whilst you are absent from home.
How to keep a clear credit file while working away from home:
1. Reduce the amount of paper-bills that are sent. Use the internet for all bill payments or set up direct debits from accounts.
2. Set up a Post Office Box, or appoint a trusted friend or family member to forward mail.
3. Keep creditors up to date with changes on accounts. If there is ever a problem with bank accounts, or a change of credit or bank cards – ensure all direct debits are altered. This can be a common reason bills get left unpaid.
4. Check up on credit accounts regularly. Make a point of checking your bills and making sure all payments are up to date.
5. Don’t let bill issues slide. Take the time to sort out any discrepancies with bills as soon as possible. Accounts which are left unpaid for more than 60 days will be listed as defaults.
6. Perform a credit file check regularly. Make sure everything is as it should be – including your current contact details and any credit entries. A free credit report can be requested from the major credit reporting agencies Veda Advantage, Dun and Bradstreet and Tasmanian Collection Service (if in Tasmania) every 12 months. A creditor may have listed defaults with one or all of these credit reporting agencies.
7. Get inconsistencies fixed. If you find errors on your credit file, or feel a listing is unjust or shouldn’t be there, you do have the right to have incorrect information rectified.
Miners and other transient workers are amongst the highest paid industries in Australia, but many of you are unable to utilise this money for big ticket items like cars and homes because your credit rating has blemishes. A credit rating repairer should be able to completely remove offending blemishes from your credit file, allowing you the chance to start with a clean slate.
Contact www.mycra.com.au for information on how to repair a bad credit rating.