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.

 

Did you find this helpful? Why not share this article?

Advertisement

RateCity
ratecity-newsletter

Money Health Newsletter

Subscribe for news, tips and expert opinions to help you make smarter financial decisions

By signing up, you agree to the RateCity Privacy Policy, Terms of Use and Disclaimer.

Advertisement

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 do credit cards work?

Think of credit cards as a short-term loan where you use the bank’s money to buy something up front and then pay for it later. Unlike a debit card which uses your own money to pay, a credit card essentially borrows the bank’s money to fund the purchase. When you apply for a credit card, the bank assesses your income and assigns you a credit limit based on what you can afford to pay back. At the end of each billing cycle, which is usually monthly, the bank will send you a statement showing the minimum amount you have to pay back, including any interest payable on the balance.

Who is eligible for Bankwest credit card insurance

Bankwest offers complimentary overseas travel insurance to its Gold MasterCard, Platinum MasterCard and World MasterCard cardholders. Eligible Gold and Platinum MasterCard customers are covered for up to 31 consecutive days of travel, while the World MasterCard holders are covered for six successive months.

To receive the complimentary Bankwest credit card insurance, cardholders need to:

  • Be under 80 years old
  • Be travelling to a foreign destination
  • Not have a cancelled or suspended card.


The complimentary insurance is also available to spouses and children if they travel with you for the entire period. The level of cover depends on the type of card and its  credit limit. Some of the standard types of cover include:

  • Overseas emergency medical assistance
  • Personal liability
  • Accidental demise
  • Baggage and personal goods.


It’s important to remember that pre-existing conditions are not covered by the complimentary Bankwest credit card insurance. Other terms and conditions also apply. 

If you are an eligible cardholder and need to make a claim, it can either be done online or by calling +612 8907 5615. 

How do I increase my Virgin credit card limit?

If you’re a Virgin Money cardholder and you’re looking at increasing your credit card limit, the first step is to get in touch with Virgin’s credit team on 13 37 39. 

Once you request a Virgin Money credit card limit increase, the lender will do an assessment of your current financial position to make sure you can repay the credit. Virgin Money will typically take 7 to 10 working days to complete this process.

Virgin Money has strict terms around credit increases. To be eligible, you must have opened your account no less than nine months before making the application. Also, at least six months must have passed since your last credit limit increase. The maximum increase you can expect will be 50 per cent of your existing credit limit.

How do I increase my Suncorp credit card limit?

You can ask Suncorp to increase your credit card limit  by contacting  131 155 or by visiting your nearest branch. You’ll have to meet Suncorp’s credit criteria and general terms. For example, you may not receive an increase in your limit if you have successfully applied for one or in the past nine months. Similarly, the bank will look at whether you’ve applied for other credit products recently. 

When assessing your application for a credit increase, banks look at a range of criteria, such as your income and your spending and repayment history. Usually you’ll hear back within a couple of weeks. 

Can I transfer money from a credit card to a bank account with HSBC?

With HSBC’s cash transfer function, you can transfer money from a credit card to a bank account. Customers who wish to make cash transfers have to apply through HSBC and are charged interest on the transactions, but no other fees. Under the program, customers can:

  • Borrow between $500 and $15,000, so long at least 20 per cent of the credit limit is still available after the transfer
  • Transfer to any nominated bank account quickly. 


Registered HSBC online banking users can log in to their accounts and select credit cards online from the My Banking tab. They can then complete the form from the Cash Transfer option. On approval, the requested amount is transferred to the nominated bank account within three days.

Customers can also register for the cash transfer program via the Mobile Banking app. Don’t forget to check the interest rate you’ll be charged, both before and after any promotional period.

What type of complimentary travel insurance is available with Citibank credit cards?

The Citi Prestige, Premier, Rewards, Emirates Citi World MasterCard, and Gold cards provide complimentary travel insurance to customers. These Citibank credit card insurance benefits are managed and issued by Allianz Global Assistance (AGA).

Depending on the type of card, the Citibank credit card insurance coverage may include:

  • Foreign travel insurance
  • A comprehensive insurance policy for foreign travel for up to six months
  • Transit accident insurance
  • Accidental injury or demise while travelling on aeroplanes, buses, trains, or ferries in foreign locations
  • Interstate flight inconvenience insurance
  • Cover for unexpected cancellations, damaged or lost baggage, flight delays, or rental vehicle excess expenses for up to 14 days while travelling within Australia.

To be eligible for the complimentary Citi credit card insurance, you must book tickets using your card or through the Citi Travel Program.

Can I use PayPal to transfer from a credit card to a bank account?

You can easily link your credit card to your PayPal account. When you need to make a payment, PayPal makes an instant transfer from your bank account, provided you’ve linked and confirmed your credit card details.For credit card holders, you can transfer funds from eligible cards listed in the “Instant” section of the money transfer page.

Here is how you can transfer money from PayPal to your bank account:

  1. On the “My Wallet” tab, select “Transfer Money” and then click on the “Transfer to your bank account” option.
  2. Choose the bank account where you want to transfer the money and click “Continue.”
  3. Enter the amount, review and click “Transfer Now.”
  4. When you confirm the transfer, the amount should be moved to the bank account linked from the chosen credit card.

How do I transfer money from my Commonwealth bank credit card to my bank account?

Your Commonwealth bank credit card may include a cash advance benefit, but you won't be able to transfer money to your bank account. 

You can, however, withdraw cash from your credit card at an ATM. You should remember that you have to pay a fee for such transactions, and you’ll be charged interest from the day you withdraw the cash. 

Unlike other credit card transactions, you don’t get an interest-free repayment period for cash advances. Also, you may not be able to access your full credit card limit for a cash advance.

How do I file a Virgin Money credit card insurance claim?

To make a claim, you can either call Allianz Global Assist at 1800 072 791 or visit their claims page. If you’re making a claim related to any travel-related complimentary insurance, such as international travel or transit accident insurance, you may need to visit their travel claims website. Again, for filing a claim while travelling overseas, you can call Allianz at +61 7 3305 7499.

Before filing your claim, consider checking which complimentary insurances are available with your Virgin Money credit card. Customers who own a ‘no annual fee’ or ‘low rate’ credit card don’t get these benefits, while some other credit cards only come with guaranteed pricing and transit accident insurance.

Remember that you’ll need to submit proof that your credit card offers the complimentary insurance benefit which you are claiming. You can read the credit card complimentary insurance terms and conditions for details regarding the benefits available on your credit card.

Do I qualify for Bank of Melbourne credit card insurance?

You may be eligible for transit accident insurance, purchase security insurance, and extended warranty no matter which type of Bank of Melbourne credit card you own. 

Some credit card customers may get coverage for international or domestic travel insurance, rental vehicle excess in Australia, and price guarantee as well. 

However, the exact terms of the insurance coverage can differ based on the specific credit card. For instance, if you buy any personal items with a Level 1 credit card, your purchase security insurance may be valid for up to four months from the purchase date. For someone with a Level 2 credit card, such coverage may only be available for three months. 

How can I transfer money from a credit card to a bank account in ANZ?

The process to transfer money from credit card to a bank account for ANZ customers can be made online via the mobile app or over the phone. Here are the necessary steps for the transfer:

Call the ANZ general enquiries number on 132273 and verify your account information. Request to transfer the desired amount. You’ll then have to provide the bank account number and the BSB details to complete the transfer.

Log in to your online banking or mobile banking app and select the “transfer” option. Provide the bank account number, BSB details, and the amount you want to transfer. Confirm the details for ANZ to  transfer money from credit card to a bank account.