A default is also referred to as an overdue debt. A consumer payment default is debt equal to or more than $150 and is more than 60 days overdue. For example, if you have a telephone bill of over $150, and it was due more than 60 days ago, it could be listed on your credit report as a payment default by the telco provider.
Before listing a consumer default, the credit provider must take a number of steps such as sending two separate written notices to your last known address requesting payment stating that the debt may be listed with a credit reporting body (like Equifax).
In the case of commercial credit the minimum default amount is $100. Before listing commercial defaults or overdue debts commercial credit providers or their agents must send a notice to your last known address stating their intention to list the default amount with a credit reporting body such as Equifax.
Potential credit providers may look unfavourably on applicants with a history of overdue accounts, so it’s a good idea to avoid defaults getting onto your credit report. To do this, you need to ensure you pay your bills before they become overdue.
Both consumer and commercial payment defaults stay on your credit report for five years, even when you have paid the overdue amount. The status of the default is updated to paid which can be looked upon more favourably by lenders but it will remain as part of your credit history.
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The term serious credit infringement relates to consumer overdue debts where an individual owes a debt to a credit provider but has left or appears to have left their last known address without paying that debt and without providing the credit provider with their new or forwarding address. A serious credit infringement can be listed on a credit report in this case if the individual has not had contact with the credit provider for six months or more despite attempts by the credit provider to contact them.
Consumer serious credit infringements remain on a credit report for seven years from the date they're listed. However, if they have been paid they revert back to a default and will remain on the report for five years. The fact that an amount has become overdue and then been paid becomes part of your credit history.
In the case of commercial credit clearouts, if you can't be contacted and it appears to the credit provider that you have left your last known address and you have not provided the credit provider with a forwarding address, they can immediately list the debt on your report as a clearout, even it hasn't been overdue for 60 days or more. These commercial clearouts will remain on your credit report for seven years regardless of whether they are paid or not.
If you believe information on your credit report is incorrect you can have it investigated by the credit provider or Equifax for free. Search our list of common creditor contacts or you can use the corrections process from Equifax.
If you wish to submit a correction request with Equifax, you will require specific details of the entries you are disputing such as the date the entry was listed on your credit file, account/reference numbers and amounts. Please ensure you have the details of all dispute entries before proceeding with the submission of a correction request. If you do not have a current copy of your Equifax credit report or the specific details of the disputed entries, you may not able to complete the correction request form.
Your monthly repayment history on credit accounts like loans and credit cards can be recorded on your credit report by a credit provider. If you pay your credit card or loan repayments more than 14 days past the due date this can be recorded on your credit report as part of your repayment history information as a late payment. This repayment history information is recorded on your credit report for a period of two years. While one late repayment, depending upon how late the payment is, is unlikely to significantly impact your credit worthiness, a number of late payments could be an indication you are in financial stress and may negatively impact your credit report.
Equifax has some simple steps to help you keep your credit report healthy:
- Pay your loans and bills on time - Consider setting up direct debits and schedule loan repayments for your pay day.
- Keep track of your credit commitments - Do your homework before applying for credit and keep track of your credit commitments. Making a number of applications within a short space of time will be recorded on your file and is not always looked upon positively by lenders, as it may be an indicator that you're in credit stress.
- If you move house, notify lenders - advise lenders, phone and utility providers of your new address so they can re-direct bills to your new address. If you don't pay these bills, a credit infringement or overdue debt could be listed on your credit report.
- If you are having trouble meeting repayments - talk to your credit provider who may assist.
- Keep track of your credit record - proactively manage your personal credit report by regularly checking your Equifax credit report and Equifax Score. You can even monitor changes through credit alerts. Please note your Equifax Score is available via our other Equifax personal credit and identity monitoring services. Find out more here. You can get also get your free Equifax credit report.