It can be a serious matter to receive a poor credit rating and be black-marked as a poor credit risk, especially if you are looking to take out a mortgage or loan in the future.
Having a bad credit rating means you are a high risk to lending institutions who will moderate that risk by charging you higher interest rates or refusing your application for a loan altogether.
What are bad credit loans?
Bad credit loans are designed for people with impaired credit files and bad credit histories. They are also provided to first home buyers and the self-employed, who lenders sometimes regarded as higher-risk borrowers.
Mortgage brokers are able to help people with bad credit histories find some of the best personal loans and car loans on the market. If you have an impaired credit file or a poor credit history, a qualified broker may be able to provide some assistance.
Lenders that specialise in people with bad credit histories can sometimes have bad reputations, because borrowers usually have to pay higher interest rates. However, this reflects the increased risk the lender is being asked to assume. If you feel more comfortable, you can apply for a loan at a major bank, but keep in mind that they usually have stricter criteria than the other lenders, which might result in your application being rejected.
Regardless of where you apply, it’s important not to sign up a for a loan that you doubt you’d be able to repay.
Here are five tips to keep in mind when taking out your loan to avoid impairing your credit rating any further:
- Get an idea of how much you can safely borrow by using a personal loan calculator
- Once you know how large the payments will be, factor them into your weekly budget to make sure you can afford the repayments
- If there is any doubt that you will be able to afford the repayments, seriously consider if taking out the loan is in your best interests
- Choose the credit providers you apply for wisely, because if you are rejected, this will damage your rating even further
- Save up a reserve of funds to tide you through an emergency, so you can avoid defaulting on your loan
Other personal loan options for bad credit borrowers:
- Secured personal loans – using the value of your car or home to guarantee your loan can help you qualify for some personal loans when you have bad credit.
- Guarantor personal loans – some lenders allow borrowers with bad credit to take out personal loans that are guaranteed by a family member or friend. If you can’t pay back the loan, it’s the guarantor’s job to cover the cost.
- Payday loans – for smaller amounts, some lenders are less concerned with your credit history as they are with your current finances. Remember that payday loans often have hefty penalties if you don’t pay on time, and you could risk further worsening your credit rating.
What is a bad credit rating?
Your credit rating is made up of an assessment of several different factors. These include any outstanding debts or repayments you have not made, previous applications for credit and their status, as well as the types of credit and lenders you have applied to.
Common practices that damage a credit rating include:
- missing payments
- making late payments
- skipping payments
- exceeding card limits
- being careless about your bills
- making multiple credit applications at once
Having no credit history (e.g. having never applied for a credit card or loan before) can sometimes be thought of as “bad” credit by some lenders, as can limit your lender’s ability to predict whether you’ll be able to repay a credit card or loan.
To avoid red tape and not fall into bad credit habits, experts recommend that you conduct regular reviews of your credit payment history.
How to find your credit rating and/or credit history:
There are several credit reporting agencies that keep track of the borrowing histories of Australians, and assign the credit ratings that lenders use when assessing credit applications.
These agencies include:
Contact one or more of these agencies for a copy of your credit history. You can usually request one free copy of your credit report per year, with additional requests incurring fees. You can also request a free copy of your credit report if you have been refused credit within the past 90 days, so you can find out the reason for your refusal.
What is comprehensive credit reporting?
From March 2014, the Australian credit system began to report credit history more comprehensively. Under the previous arrangement, it was not possible for positive repayment history to balance out any negative history. Even with a secured bad credit loan, your negligence would still be reported to the credit bureaus.
This is no longer the case as comprehensive credit reporting provides a more holistic view of your past payments. This may be beneficial to people with a bad credit rating who may have defaulted on a loan but have kept up with bill repayments regularly, as well as new borrowers with short of limited credit histories.
Keep in mind that participation in comprehensive credit reporting is voluntary at time of writing, and that not every credit provider offers positive credit information to credit agencies.
How to improve a bad credit rating:
- Keep up to date with repayments and bills
- Keep a regular job and residence
- Build up your savings
- Clear existing debts and avoid new debts
- Correct any errors/inaccuracies on your credit report (contact the credit agency)
If you would like to compare more specific features on our extensive range of fixed-rate and variable rate loans, visit our personal loans comparison page.