Many Australians do not know this, but if you have ever applied for credit (and this includes things like mobile phone accounts) you will have a credit report. This credit report is checked every time you apply for credit, and any errors on the report may impact your ability to get loans.
Australian credit reports contain:
The main credit reporting agencies in Australia are Veda Advantage (formerly Baycorp Advantage) and Dunn & Bradstreet. You can obtain your credit report for free within 10 working days of your written request. You will need to provide enough information to the agency so they can identify you. Express delivery incurs an extra charge. If you notice errors in the report, you can contact the agency to rectify any mistakes.
When Americans talk about credit scores, the ubiquitous FICO score which is calculated by Fair-Isaac is usually what they mean. The FICO score is a single number that is calculated by taking a number of factors into consideration. American lenders then use this number to assess the creditworthiness of the customer. While we don't have this system in Australia due to privacy laws, banks do calculate internal credit scores based on your application information and credit report. The credit score is a way of the bankers assessing how risky it would be to grant you a loan given everything they know about you. For instance, a bank is less likely to give you a personal loan if you already have large amounts of credit extended to you relative to your salary.
In conclusion, if you are applying for credit, or you have been denied credit, it is important for you to check your credit report. It is free, and could save you money and heartbreak.