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 was part of
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 Decision Advantage (formerly known
Veda has a marketing subsidiary known as Inivio.
Australian credit bureaus are strictly regulated
by the Privacy Act, as enforced by the Australian
The primary Australian federal law regulating
creditors is the Consumer Credit Code.