Build up your credit history: 6 easy steps

Build up your credit history: 6 easy steps

Credit history is one of those things people forget about until they actually need it.  But it’s also one of those things that can’t magically be fixed overnight.  

Do you forget to pay your bills on time? Have you just moved out of home for the first time? Are you moving to Australia from abroad? There are many reasons that you might not have a valid credit history but don’t wait until you have credit knocked back to think about improving it.

While your credit file can ring alarm bells with a lender, it can also be your best ally when applying for a loan. Here are our top tips to getting your credit back on track:

  1. Start small. If you have no official credit track record, start establishing one. A mobile phone plan, electricity account, internet or Foxtel service can be helpful as proof of payment commitments. Make sure the account is in your name and at your residential address – and don’t start signing up to things you don’t actually need!
  2. Punctual payments. Pay your bills on time. It’s a simple but effective way to establish your reliability in the eyes of a potential lender.
  3. Job stability. If you have passed the probation period at your current place of employment, you can start demonstrating staying power, particularly if you are new to the country.
  4. Fixed address. Proof of long-term residential address such as rent receipts can help prove to a lender that you’re not a nomad.
  5. Becoming buddies with your bank. Start actively building a relationship with your bank. Have your wage paid directly into your bank account and conduct the account properly, avoiding overdue fees.
  6. Plastic power. A credit card is easier to obtain than a loan, so use this avenue to build up a track record of perfect repayments.  Just watch that due date like a hawk and pay off the total in full each month.  You don’t want your new piece of plastic to start ruining your credit history instead of improving it.

Why do lenders need my credit history?

Lenders need assurance you’ll pay back the money. Part of their assessment of your credit risk will require them to access your official credit file. Your credit file shows all credit applied for by you, plus all overdue accounts listed as either a default or clearout.

How can I check my credit history?

Checking your current credit history is easy. Simply go to Veda Advantage’s website – www.mycreditfile.com.au.  You can request a free copy of your credit history from them, but be aware certain criteria apply and it can take up to 10 days to arrive.  If you are in a rush, you can purchase a copy of your personal credit file and it will be posted, faxed or emailed to you promptly. It’s then a matter of keeping your credit reputation in good shape for future use.

Surely there are some shortcuts?

Building up a good credit history requires diligence and takes time – but it will pay dividends in the long run. Yes, you can take a short cut by borrowing through a loan company that takes on higher risk customers, but just remember, you’ll pay for it.

Companies that accept riskier borrowers often charge high fees and set higher interest rates to cover themselves. Fees can sometimes be up to fifty percent of the loan amount, on top of interest, and you could end up paying back almost double the amount you borrowed.

After taking this into consideration, many people decide that for such a small amount, the loan is not worth it. However they still face the problem of needing a larger loan sometime in the future, and before they can do this, they need to build up their credit history. Back to square one! There’s no getting around it, so why not start work on establishing or cleaning up your credit history today?

How do I compare credit cards?

RateCity is one of the best websites to conduct credit care comparisons, whether it’s a low interest card, a rewards card or one with no annual fees.

Compare credit cards and look for the best credit card deals here.

 

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Learn more about credit cards

Do you need a credit card to get a loan?

You do not need a credit card to get a loan, but you usually need to have a credit history. Without a credit history, a financial institution cannot assess your ‘credit worthiness’, or your capacity to pay off the loan.

If you don’t have a credit card, your credit history can reflect any record of paying off an asset. Without any credit credit history, you’re limited in the type of loans you can apply for. But you may be able to obtain a secured loan against an asset. For more information on improving your credit score, go here

How easy is it to get a credit card?

For most Australians, there are no great barriers to applying for and getting approved for a credit card. Here are some points that a lender will consider when assessing your credit card application.

Credit score: A bad credit score is not the be all and end all of your application, but it may stop you being approved for a higher credit limit. If your credit score is less than perfect, apply for the credit limit that you need, rather than the one you want.

Annual income: Most credit cards have minimum annual income requirements. Make sure you’re applying for a card where you meet the minimum.

Age & residency: You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia, and most require that you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. However, there are some credit cards available to temporary residents.

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

How to increase your HSBC credit card limit

You can opt to increase your HSBC credit card limit in multiple ways. 

The easiest way to change your HSBC credit card limit is through online banking. Log on to your account and click on ‘Manage your account’. Then, click on ‘My Cards’ and choose to change your credit card limit. Simply complete the HSBC credit card limit increase form and click on ‘Submit’. 

You can also request to increase your credit card limit by calling HSBC’s customer service hotline on 1300 303 168. 

Lastly, you can visit any HSBC branch to apply to lift your card limit. 

If you are facing challenges while trying to complete an HSBC credit card credit limit increase online, you can chat with a representative using internet banking. Click on the ‘Need Help’ button on the right of the dashboard and open the chat window to speak with the customer service officer. 

How does the ANZ credit card instalment plan work?

While you usually need to settle all or part of your credit card dues at the end of your statement period, some credit cards afford you the option of setting up instalment plans. This allows you to settle your credit card debt at a pace that's more convenient for you, paying a fixed amount over a fixed period, thus making it easier to budget your repayments every month.

With the ANZ credit card instalment plan, you can set up a structured repayment schedule for part or all of your balance, or even for specific purchases over a certain value.

Some of the benefits of instalment repayment include: 

  • Structured repayments: You’ll have a fixed sum to pay each month.
  • Easier to budget: A fixed repayment sum makes it easier to make your monthly budget.
  • Account benefits: You might also get benefits such as discounted interest rates or debt-tracking tools.

There are disadvantages of opting for instalment repayment, however, and they include:

  • Less flexibility: You will not be able to pay a smaller amount once you set an instalment plan.
  • Different interest charges: In case the instalment plan only covers part of the balance, different interest charges could apply, making it challenging to budget.
  • Additional fees: You might have to pay fees or penalty charges in case of missed payments.

How to increase your Bendigo Bank credit card limit?

As a Bendigo Bank credit cardholder, you can avail a minimum limit of $500, but if you use your card regularly, you may want to consider increasing it. To increase your Bendigo Bank credit card limit, you can contact the bank’s credit card team on 1300 236 344 and talk to the bank directly.

You can also apply for a credit card limit increase through online banking, by logging into Bendigo Bank web portal or through the app on your phone or tablet. Once you’ve successfully logged in, you'll want  to send a secure message to Bendigo Bank asking them to increase your credit card limit. 

If you cannot access the online portal or the app, you can also apply to increase your credit card limit through the online enquiry form. Simply add relevant information in the required fields and click ‘Submit’. Once you have completed the application, Bendigo Bank should verify your details and analyse your current financial standing. Based on this assessment, the bank will either accept your application to increase your credit card limit or deny it. 

How to increase your Heritage credit card limit?

Heritage credit card holders can increase their card limits, and typically without any hassles. There are two limits applied to your credit card: your account transfer limit and your credit card limit, each of which has a separate limit.

To increase your Heritage credit card limit, you can contact Heritage on 13 14 22. Unfortunately, you cannot opt to increase your credit card limit online due to security reasons. 

You can, however, request to increase your daily account transfer limit and BPAY® to up to $40,000 per day easily through Heritage Online. To do this,  you'll need to first ensure that your credit card limit is more than $40,000. If it is lower, you’ll need to first ask Heritage for an increase in your credit card limit. 

  • It’s important to note that once you change your credit limit, the daily periodic rate and corresponding annual percentage rate will change as well. This is likely to come into effect on the first day of each billing cycle that begins in March, June, September, and December. The effect of an increase in the annual percentage rate and the daily periodic rate will lead to an increased amount of interest you will have to cover in your monthly payment. 

What coverage does Coles credit card insurance offer?

Most customers who own a Coles credit card may be eligible for complimentary purchase protection insurance, but low rate card owners won’t receive this benefit. 

Some premium credit cards issued by Coles include transit accident insurance and extended warranty cover in addition to purchase protection insurance. Covered items paid for at least partially with your Coles credit card usually qualify for purchase protection insurance.

However, you may only be eligible for transit accident and extended warranty coverage if the entire travel cost or purchase price is billed to the eligible card. Additionally, the extended warranty coverage matches the manufacturer’s warranty up to a maximum of five years. If your credit card offers extended warranty, but the covered item comes with a six-year warranty, you're unlikely to receive the benefit.

How to apply for an HSBC credit card instalment plan?

HSBC provides a host of different features and benefits to its customers, including interest-free finance options for purchases made at select retailers.

Using this feature, you can make a purchase in-store or online through your credit card, and spread your repayments for up to 60 months. Opting for a credit card instalment plan may be an ideal option as you can make big purchases without worrying about making immediate payments. 

The interest-free instalment plan is valid for all HSBC credit cards, so you shouldn't need to fill out separate forms or apply for a particular plan. Rather, all you should need to do is use your HSBC credit card at any of the participating retailers and inform the vendor that you want to pay using HSBC interest-free. 

As HSBC has partnered with over 1,000 retailers for its interest-free credit card instalment plan, you get the flexibility to purchase a host of different products. Some of the popular retailers that HSBC allows instalments for are: 

  • Webjet 
  • King Furniture 
  • Betta Home Living
  • Stratco 
  • Video Pro 
  • Bing Lee

Once you have provided approval to the vendor, HSBC will send you an SMS asking you to confirm the purchase, following which the payment will go through, and you can select your preferred instalment plan. 

While you may be inclined to choose the most prolonged duration for repayment considering there are no interest charges, it’s important to know that minimum monthly repayments will still apply (3%, or $30, whichever is higher), making it important to choose the right HSBC credit card instalment plan that suits your requirements. 

What should I do if my ANZ credit card has expired?

Your ANZ credit card is considered expired only after the last day of the month and year marked on your card. For instance, if your card’s expiry date reads 03/22, it is valid until 31 March 2022 and expires on 1 April 2022. Typically, you should have received a new credit card by that date, and you won’t have to request a new card. 

Once you get the new card, you should remember to switch any automatic payments you have - such as a utility or mobile phone bill - from your expired credit card to your new credit card. Equally, if you are using CardPay Direct to repay your ANZ credit card debt, you may need to update the credit card account details for that service as well. 

In case the new card doesn’t arrive by the expiry date of your current credit card, you can call ANZ on 13 22 73 to find out the reason and if you need to request an expedited card. Please note that if you were planning to close your credit card account or request a credit card upgrade, you may need to call ANZ at least before the 25th of the month your current credit card expires in, as that’s when they may send you the new credit card.

Does Bendigo Bank offer credit card insurance?

No matter which type of Bendigo Bank credit card you own, you may qualify for complimentary purchase protection insurance, extended warranties, and best price guarantee. 

If you are eligible for one or more of these complimentary insurances, you won’t need to activate them separately. Consider checking the coverage limits as well as the terms of purchase to find out if they apply to your purchases. For instance, the annual coverage limit under Bendigo Bank’s purchase protection insurance for one type of credit card is $25,000. However, the coverage limit per item is $5,000, and you may have to pay an excess of $250 every time you file a claim.

Some Bendigo Bank credit card customers may also qualify for mobile device insurance, which covers the accidental damage to or loss of your phone. Again, the coverage limit varies for repairing or replacing your phone,compared to repairing accidental damage to your phone’s screen. Other complimentary insurance offered by Bendigo Bank on some credit cards includes coverage for overseas travel, domestic flight inconvenience, and transit accidents. If you rent a car using an eligible Bendigo Bank credit card, you may be able to get a waiver on the car rental excess as well. 

What does BOQ credit card insurance cover?

All BOQ credit cards come with purchase cover insurance and guaranteed pricing, which can be claimed by eligible customers without activation. Some premium cards may additionally cover international travel, transit accidents, and interstate flight inconveniences, as well as offering extended warranties in select circumstances. 

For instance, any “covered item” bought using your BOQ credit card may be eligible for purchase cover insurance if its value doesn’t exceed $10,000. Again, covered items usually include most business and household or personal items but exclude things like computer software, perishable food items, and arts and antiques. You should check your credit card’s product disclosure statement (PDS) to find out which of these complimentary insurances you may qualify for if any. 

Does St. George Bank offer any credit card insurance?

Depending on the type of card they hold St. George Bank credit cardholders can benefit from a host of various credit card insurance offerings including:

Complimentary overseas travel insurance, covering:

  • Medical and hospital expenses incurred while travelling overseas, with the exclusion of pre-existing conditions
  • Loss or damage to personal property
  • Legal liabilities
  • Loss or damage to rental vehicles
  • Unexpected cancellation of travel arrangements or any other unforeseen expenses

Complimentary purchase security insurance may be available to level 1 cardholders for four months and three months of complimentary insurance accessed by level 2 cardholders. This type of insurance covers loss, theft, and damage costs to eligible products purchased anywhere around the world, provided that the product was purchased using the St. George Bank credit card. 

Extended warranty insurance may be available to St. George Bank credit cardholders, which extends the manufacturer’s Australian warranty on certain products purchased. For example, if you purchase a pair of headphones that comes with 11 months of warranty, St. George Bank will provide an extended warranty of 11 months, provided the entire purchase is charged to the St. George Bank credit card. 

Select cardholders may be able to take advantage of St. George Bank’s rental vehicle excess insurance, which covers up to $5,500 for any excess or deductible which the cardholder is legally liable to pay during the rental period. 

Does Woolworths Qantas offer any credit card insurance?

Credit cards can be useful for managing your expenses, but they also come with other advantages like credit card insurance. Your Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card may offer a host of complimentary insurance options, which include: 

  • Travel insurance: Cover for your whole family when they travel with you, with unlimited overseas medical emergency cover and $500,000 accident insurance for accidental loss of life.  
  • Purchase security insurance: If you purchase an eligible product with your Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card, the cost of theft or damage that occurred within 90 days of the purchase will be covered, provided the amount doesn’t exceed the purchase price of the item or up to $2500 per event. 
  • Extended warranty insurance: If you purchase eligible goods with your Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card, this complimentary insurance will extend the manufacturer’s Australian warranty by up to 12 months. 
  • Global hire car excess waiver: If you’re legally liable to pay an excess or deductible in the event of loss or damage to a rental vehicle that was booked using your Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card, the costs will be covered. 

To find out more about Woolworths Qantas credit card insurance, you can call them on 1300 10 1234.