What happens if you don't have a credit score?

What happens if you don't have a credit score?

If you’re a young Australian looking to take out a loan or credit card, you may be struggling with the fact that you haven’t built up a credit history.

This is not uncommon, as it can take some time to grow up your credit score. But it can be frustrating for Aussies who feel like they need credit to build credit.

So, what happens if you don’t have a credit score? And how can you build up your credit history without risking falling into debt? Here are some helpful tips to guide you through developing your credit score.

What a credit score does

When you want to borrow money from a bank in the form of a loan or credit card, the bank will need some sense that you can keep on top of your bills, pay back this money and not fall into debt. This is where a credit score comes in.

Your credit score indicates your trustworthiness as a borrower. It is based on your credit history, which is an outline of:

  • Money you’ve borrowed;
  • Any credit applications you’ve made; and
  • Paying your bills on time. 

A high score shows credit providers that you are a reliable borrower and should be able to pay back a loan in a timely way. Not only does this mean you are more likely to be approved for financial products, some providers reserve their most competitive interest rates for Australians with excellent credit scores. For example, someone with an ‘excellent’ credit score may receive a lower home loan interest rate than someone with only a ‘good’ credit score.

How to check your credit history and credit score

Your credit history is stored on your credit file and can be viewed through one of the Australian credit reporting bureaus. These include Equifax, Experian and Illion. Credit reporting bureaus allow Australians one free copy of their credit report each year, so if you’ve never looked your credit history, now is the time.

 Here is Equifax’s credit score scale:

  • 833 - 1200: Excellent

You’re a reliable borrower and among the top 20 percent of the credit-active population of Australia. Your odds of keeping a clean file are five times better than the average Equifax credit-active population.

  • 726 - 832: Very good

Although you may have had your share of financial misses or have not had time to build a credit history, you still have a decent score. Your chances of keeping a clean credit report are two times better than the average Equifax credit-active population.

  • 622 - 725: Good

Your odds of keeping a clean credit report are better than the average Equifax credit-active population. It’s less likely you will face an adverse event in the next 12 months.

  • 510 - 621: Average

It’s likely that you might experience an unfavourable event such as a default, bankruptcy or court judgment in the next 12 months.

  • 0 -509: Below average

It's more likely that you will experience an unfavourable event such as a default, bankruptcy or court judgment in the next 12 months.

There are some financial websites that do provide you with just your credit score. RateCity can help you to get a free copy of your credit score. All you’ll need is to provide some basic personal identification details, and your score will be sent to you.

How to grow your credit history from nothing

Whether you’re trying to get your first credit card, or looking to take out a car loan, there are a few ways you can grow your credit history and build up a credit score without borrowing credit.

  • Utilities bills. If you’ve moved out of home, or if your parents are keen to help you, try and have your name put on a utilities bill, such as gas or electricity. This is a simple way you can show banks you’re reliable with paying bills on time and begin to grow your credit score.
  • Phone plan. Perhaps you’re still on a prepaid phone plan or maybe you’re on your parent’s phone plan. One of the easiest ways you can start your credit history is to begin an independent phone plan under your own name. Just keep in mind that this is a financial responsibility, and not paying your phone bill on time can hurt your credit score. 

If you are comfortable borrowing credit, you may want to consider taking out a low-rate, low-fee credit card. These typically come with easier credit card eligibility criteria to meet, as well as lower rates, fees and credit limits to prevent you growing debt. If you can pay your credit card balance in full each statement period, this is one way you can seriously boost your credit history.

Just ensure you do your research around the eligibility criteria of any financial product you’re considering applying to. Read the product disclosure statement carefully to see any minimum income, employment and credit score requirements. This is crucial for every Australian to do, as applying for any financial product and being rejected will negatively impact your credit score.

Comprehensive Credit Reporting and positive information

Previously, a credit report will only show negative information, as well as basic facts around utilities or money you’ve borrowed. But what about your positive financial information? Australian banks, including the big four, are making the move to Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR) to include just this.   

CCR means that when credit providers supply credit bureaus with information about how their customers are managing loans, they will now supply both ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ information. Those with poor credit scores may be able to bounce back quicker thanks to CCR. Further, for those with very little credit history, it may also help you.

This positive information may include:

  • Making all your bill repayments on time for the past year.
  • More information added to files of those with little credit history, such as the type of credit account opened, the date it was opened, the name of the credit provider and current limit on the credit account.
  • Repeated behaviour taken into consideration more heavily than one-off missed payments.

Put simply, comprehensive credit reporting will reward Australians who always pay their bills on time and pay off debts in full, as this showcases a strong level of financial responsibility to credit providers.

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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.

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.

What happens if I have a bad credit score?

If you have a bad credit score, you might encounter two main problems. First, the lower your credit score, the more likely you are to be rejected when you apply for a loan or any other credit product. Second, if your application is accepted, the less likely you are to qualify for the lowest interest rates.

Why should I check my credit rating?

There are two reasons you should check your credit rating: so you have a better understanding of your financial position, and so you can take action (if necessary) to improve your credit rating.

Lenders use credit ratings or credit scores to assess loan applications. The higher your score, the more likely you are to get approved, and the more likely you are to be charged lower interest rates and lower fees. Conversely, the lower your credit score, the less likely you are to get approved, and the more likely you are to be charged higher interest rates and higher fees.

Does Macquarie Bank offer any credit card insurance?

Yes, Macquarie Bank may offer credit card insurance; it just depends on the type of Macquarie Bank credit card you have. There is a range of credit card insurance offers you can benefit from when you take out a Macquarie Bank credit card.

If you have a Macquarie Black or Platinum credit card, you have access to travel insurance for you, your spouse and any dependent children while travelling overseas. Under this travel insurance you receive:

  • Interstate Flight Inconvenience Insurance, which provides cover for meals and clothing, depending on the delay
  • Medical Emergency Expense Cover, which offers you unlimited cover for most medical expenses, and limited cover for dental treatment and emergencies caused by an act of terrorism
  • Baggage, Money and Documents Cover, which is subject to certain sub-limits mentioned in the terms and conditions

As a Macquarie Bank credit cardholder, you could be eligible for Extended Warranty insurance, which provides an extension to the manufacturer’s Australian warranty on certain products. To access this cover, you must have purchased the product using your Macquarie Bank credit card.

Select Macquarie Bank credit cardholders might also be able to take advantage of Rental Vehicle Excess Insurance. This insurance will cover you for any excess or deductibles that you’re liable to pay during the rental period.

Most Macquarie Bank credit cards also come with purchase protection insurance which protects you against fraudulent transactions. You should check the terms and conditions to find out more.

What is the American Express credit card insurance coverage?

Several American Express credit cards, including the Gold, Platinum and Green cards, come with international and domestic travel insurance, shopping and purchase protection and smartphone screen insurance. All you have to do to activate your American Express credit card insurance cover is use it to pay for eligible purchases, travel, and a smartphone.

The complimentary travel insurance requires you to be less than 80 years old with no pre-existing diseases and your travel must begin and end in Australia.

To make an American Express credit card insurance claim, you’ll need to lodge your request with Chubb Claim Centre within 30 days. Submit the form along with supporting documents like medical reports, original invoices and receipts. You can also contact Chubb on 1800 139 149 or file a claim via the Chubb website.

What is the CUA credit card increase limit process?

A credit limit is pre-assigned based on factors like your income, expenses, and debt by the card-issuing company. It varies from time to time based on credit utilisation and changes to your circumstances.

If your income has increased or your liabilities have reduced, you can request for an increase of your CUA credit card limit. You can lodge the request via online banking on the website, or by visiting the closest branch, or by downloading the application form and mailing it. While making the application, you may need to provide information about your income, employment status, desired limit, and the reason for the increase. The card-issuing company will assess your request before approval.

Before you apply for an increase to the credit limit, ensure your bills are paid in full and you aren’t asking for a very steep enhancement.

How to increase your Qantas Premier credit card limit

When your income or spending habits change, you might wish to increase your credit card limit. The Qantas Premier credit card allows you to do this over the phone. You can contact Qantas Premier Card Support by calling on 1300 992 700. Unlike some other credit providers, Qantas doesn’t give you the option to increase your limit online.

Qantas will only accept your application if you have a good history of repayment and have not increased your credit or bought another credit product from Qantas in the past six months.

Before approving your Qantas Premier credit card limit increase, Qantas will perform a credit assessment on your current financial circumstances and ask why you would like to increase your credit limit.

To ensure that there are no bumps in your application process, you must provide accurate and recent information about your financial situation. You should also account for any future changes you’re anticipating which could hinder your ability to repay the loan.

Once the assessment is complete, Qantas will either approve or deny your application. If they approve it, you will need to sign a credit limit increase agreement - and you can request a written copy of the credit assessment. However, if your application is rejected, Qantas can opt not to provide a copy of the assessment.

How to increase a Citi credit card limit?

Before requesting an increase in the limit of your Citibank credit card, you’ll need to find out if you’re eligible for the increased limit. You can check your eligibility for a Citibank credit card limit increase by calling 13 24 84 or checking the “My Offers” section of your online Citibank account. If you are eligible and request a credit card limit increase, the company will review your income and expenses, including the repayments you make to clear other debts. Your request may be approved if Citibank can confirm that you can repay the full credit card balance, as stipulated by Australian laws, within three years.


To make sure that the company is reviewing your current earnings, you should update any income details by providing recent payslips or a tax assessment notice. In case you are still repaying other debts, consider consolidating or paying off some in full before applying for a credit limit increase. This will free up more disposable income, or earnings left over after deducting all necessary expenses, and possibly determine how much you can increase your credit card limit.

Does ING increase credit card limits?

You may want to increase your credit card limit for many reasons, such as having access to more spending money. However, if you are using the Orange One credit card issued by ING, you may not be able to do so. 

ING customers can choose a credit limit of their preference when applying for the Orange One credit card. Depending on your financial situation, this limit can be anywhere between $1,000 and $30,000. If you qualify for a Rewards Platinum card, the minimum credit card limit will likely be $6,000. 

Ideally, you should set your credit card limit knowing how much you can afford to repay each month and keep your expenses lower than this level. With most credit cards, you should have the option of requesting a credit card limit increase at a later time, although you will need to qualify for any increase. With an ING credit card, limit increases are out of the question (at the time this was published), which means you may want to apply for a higher credit card limit from the beginning. Remember that you have the option of decreasing your ING credit card limit at a later time.

Increase your credit card limit with Westpac

You can apply to increase your Westpac credit card credit limit at any time, and most credit card providers have made it really easy to do so. You can use your online banking portal, the credit card provider’s mobile app, or even the telephone. 

Applying online to increase your credit limit with Westpac is the easiest option if you’ve already activated Westpac Live Online Banking. All you need to do is fill in the required information and then hit ‘submit’ to apply for an increase in your credit card limit.

Most banks will ask for details of your financial situation at the time of applying for a credit increase. This is done to ensure your new limit meets the lender’s criteria. 

You can apply for increasing your credit limit in any of the following ways:

  1. Visiting your nearest Westpac branch
  2. Calling Westpac on 1300 651 089
  3. Logging in on Westpac Live Online Banking

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. 

How can I increase my Bankwest credit card limit?

When you apply for a Bankwest credit card, you get assigned a pre-set credit limit, which will end up being the most that you can spend on your credit card before having to pay it off. Your credit limit is chosen for you and your current financial situation, and you should remember not to overspend, irrespective of the limit, in order to avoid racking up a massive bill.

However, banks and lenders understand that your needs will change, and have made it possible for you to increase your credit card limit, allowing you to get extra cash when you need it most. Moreover, with a higher spending limit, you may be able to get access to certain perks and benefits with your Bankwest credit card.

To increase your Bankwest credit card limit, you can visit any of the bank’s branches or call 13 17 19 and follow the steps outlined.