What are the pros and cons of personal loans?
The advantages of personal loans are that they’re easier to obtain than mortgages and usually have lower interest rates than credit cards.
One disadvantage with personal loans is that you have to go through a formal application process, unlike when you borrow money on your credit card. Another disadvantage is that you’ll be charged a higher interest rate than if you borrowed the money as part of a mortgage.
Credit ratings/scores are calculated by credit reporting bodies such as Equifax, Dun & Bradstreet, Experian and the Tasmanian Collection Service. These are separate organisations, so they use different systems.
Equifax gives scores between 0 and 1,200:
- 833 to 1,200 = Excellent
- 726 to 823 = Very good
- 622 to 725 = Good
- 510 to 621 = Average
- 509 or less = Below average
Dun & Bradstreet (through the Credit Simple service) gives scores between 0 and 1,000:
- 800 to 1,000 = High end
- 700 to 799 = Great
- 500 to 699 = Average
- 300 to 499 = Room to improve
- 299 or less = Low
Experian gives scores between 0 and 999:
- 961 to 999 = Excellent
- 881 to 960 = Good
- 721 to 880 = Fair
- 561 to 720 = Poor
- 0 to 560 = Very poor
The Tasmanian Collection Service doesn’t give scores. Instead, it prepares credit reports for credit providers and then lets those providers make their own assessment.
Your credit score will improve if you demonstrate that you’ve become more credit-worthy. You can do that by minimising credit applications, clearing up defaults and paying bills on time.
Another tip is to get the one free credit report you’re entitled to each year – that way, you’ll be able to identify and fix any errors.
If you want to fix an error, the first thing you should do is speak with the credit reporting body, which make take of the problem or contact credit providers on your behalf.
The next step would be to contact your credit provider. If that doesn’t work, you can refer the matter to the credit provider’s independent dispute resolution scheme, which would be the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
AFCA provides consumers and small businesses with fair, free and independent dispute resolution for financial complaints.
If that doesn’t work, your final options are to contact the Privacy Commissioner and then the Office of the Information Commissioner.
Several dozen lenders offer bad credit personal loans. These are generally smaller lenders that aren’t household names.
Personal loans may require a borrower to provide proof of identity, proof of residence, details of any other outstanding loans (including credit cards), details of assets they own (e.g. savings, car, property), and proof of income.
While borrowers in full-time or part-time employment can often provide payslips and similar documents to prove their income, self-employed borrowers may need to provide other information, such as bank statements or tax returns, to demonstrate that their income can cover a loan’s repayments.
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