Australia's primary credit bureau is Credit Advantage, formerly
known as the Credit Reference Association Of Australia, which
holds records on over 12 million people and one million businesses.
Credit Advantage is used by approximately 3,800 credit providers,
who make a total of 45,000 enquiries per day.
Due to legal restrictions, Credit Advantage does not report
any positive information. It is essentially a "blacklist"
containing listings of accounts that are at least 60 days past
due, along with public records of lawsuit judgements and bankruptcies.
Bounced cheques of over $100 (after two attempts at clearing)
and enquiries are also listed.
Defaults, bad cheques, court judgements, and enquiries remain
in a consumer's file for five years. Paying off a defaulted account
will not cause the item to be removed - the listing will
be changed to note the paid-off status, but will remain (as a
negative) until five years after originally being reported. Bankruptcies
remain for seven years. Vaguely defined "serious credit infringement"
(probably meaning high-dollar fraud) can remain for seven years.
The company started in 1967 as the Credit Reference Association
Of NSW, with 90,000 files containing bad debt information contributed
by the Retail Trader's Association Of NSW. The database originally
consisted of paper index cards in shoe boxes. In the early 1970s,
notations of enquiries were added to the files.
In 1976, the company expanded into the state of Victoria (with
a separate database) and changed its name to the Credit Reference
Association Of Australia. In the early 1980s, the database was
computerized, with further expansion nationwide. A database of
information on businesses was also started.
In 1998 CRAA began using a new holding company called Data Advantage
Ltd. In April 2000, CRAA (also known as Credit Reference Ltd)
changed its name to Credit Advantage, and is part of the Data
Advantage Group. They later changed their name to Veda Advantage.
For details on obtaining a free copy of your personal credit
report, go to the Veda
Advantage web site.
Their credit scoring and risk management software affiliate is
Advantage (formerly known as Equigen.)
Australian credit bureaus are strictly regulated by the Privacy
Act, as enforced by the Australian
The primary Australian federal law regulating creditors is the