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 –  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?



Money Health Newsletter

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

By signing up, you agree to the Privacy & Cookies Policy and Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy


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.

What should you do if your credit card is compromised?

Credit card fraud is a serious problem. If your credit card is compromised and you’re wondering what to do, here are a few precautionary steps to take.

Contact you credit provider – Get in touch will your credit card provider. If you feel your card has been compromised, you should be able to lock or block it.

Monitor your accounts – Keep an eye on your credit card accounts. Any unauthorised transactions could be a sign your credit card has been compromised.

Check your credit rating – It’s also important to check your credit rating, to ensure you’re not a victim of identity theft or some other financial mischief.

How to pay a credit card

There are a few ways to pay a credit card bill. These include:

  • BPAY - allows you to safely make credit card payments online.
  • Direct debits - set up an automatic payment from your bank account to pay your credit card bill each month. You can choose how much you want to pay of your credit card bill when you set up the auto payments.
  • In a branch.
  • Via your credit card provider's app.

How do you use a credit card?

Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.

How to increase the NAB credit card limit?

If you use your NAB credit card regularly, you could consider requesting a higher credit limit. The good news is that it's fairly easy to do so using either the NAB app or NAB internet banking. 

NAB app: 

Step 1: Download the latest version of the NAB app.

Step 2: Select the ‘My Cards’ menu. 

Step 3: Select the card you want to increase the credit limit for. 

Step 4: Select ‘Usage Controls’ and then click on ‘Change Credit Limit’.

NAB internet banking: 

Step 1: Log into your account. 

Step 2: Choose the ‘My Cards’ menu. 

Step 3: Choose the card for which you want to increase the limit. 

Step 4: Choose ‘Change My Credit Card Limit’.  

If you don’t have the NAB app or cannot access NAB internet banking, you can even visit your local branch or call their contact center. 

Once you’ve applied to increase your NAB credit card limit, you’re likely to be asked for your

  • current employment details  
  • total income, before and after-tax deductions  
  • assets, liabilities, and expenses information

NAB will then assess this information to determine if your current financial situation suits the increased credit limit request, and your application will either be accepted or denied.

However, this process will only work if you’re attempting to increase your personal NAB credit card limit. For a business credit card, you can contact the NAB Corporate & Business Servicing team or speak to your NAB relationship manager. 

Should I get a credit card?

Once you've compared credit card interest rates and deals and found the right card for you, the actual process of getting a credit card is quite straightforward. You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at a bank branch. 

How do I apply for a credit card online?

What does ANZ credit card insurance cover?

ANZ offers complimentary insurance on some of its credit cards, which can provide some protection against unforeseeable incidents, like the theft of your card. Depending on the type of credit card you own, you may be eligible for different insurances. For instance, most ANZ credit card customers may qualify for Purchase Protection Insurance and Extended Warranty Insurance. Customers who own premium credit cards may also be eligible for Guaranteed Pricing, Rental Vehicle Excess, International Travel, and so on.

Consider checking your ANZ credit card insurance features listed in the Insurance Policy Information booklet to know which items are covered. Also, while ANZ issued the credit card, they are not the insurer. For this reason, you may need to send your insurance claims - and get your ANZ credit card insurance refund - to the insurance provider.

Current Annual Fees

These are the current annual fees on your existing credit card.

Monthly repayment

This is how much you can afford to pay on a monthly basis off your credit card. You can enter any amount you wish; but to make the balance transfer worthwhile the default is $200.

Current Interest Rate

This is the current interest rate on your existing credit card.

Can I get a credit card on part-time/casual work?

Yes, as credit card providers look at your annual income amount as well as your occupation. Minimum income requirements tend to be between $30,000 – $40,000 for standard and rewards credit cards, however low income credit cards can have minimum income requirements as low as $15,000 per year.