Credit Checks and Records 

What is a credit report?

Your credit report allows lenders to check your credit history before giving you credit, such as mortgages, hire purchase, car loans etc. Phone and electricity companies can also check your credit record if they are providing those services on credit (and most are).

It’s also possible for landlords, insurers and potential employers to check your credit record. All of this means that it’s worth knowing what’s on your credit report before you apply for credit.

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What affects my credit record?

Your credit record is a summary of your history with credit, debt, and repayment. If you have had unpaid debts or been insolvent, this will be recorded, and it will affect your credit record. Overdue or unpaid fines and reparation won't show up on your credit report but can be included when a credit check is done.

Your credit record can include your repayment history. This means that whether or not you meet, or miss, your monthly payments on your credit card, mortgage or electricity or phone account, can end up on credit reporters’ databases – and be on your credit report.

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How do I check my credit record?

It’s a good idea to know what’s on your credit report, especially if you are going to be applying for credit. You have a legal right to free access to your credit report.

There are three credit reporting companies operating in New Zealand and if you want to check your record or correct any information you need to contact them all:

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How much will it cost to get a copy of my credit record?

Everyone is entitled to a free copy of their credit record - make sure to choose the free option when you contact each company. Sometimes it can be hard to find the free option, so make sure you look for this.

If you need the report in less than five days, you can apply to be 'fast tracked' for a fee. A credit reporting company is not allowed to charge you more than $10 (including GST) to fast track your credit report application.

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What can I do if my credit record is wrong?

If you believe that the information provided on your credit history is incorrect, you should contact the report provider and ask them to investigate so that the mistake can be corrected or further explained to you. To do this, you should make an application in writing to the agency that has provided the report, saying that their information is not accurate, and you would like the incorrect details removed. Each agency has its own procedure for this, which is listed on each website

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How do I make a complaint about a credit reporting agency?

If you feel a credit reporting agency has breached the Credit Reporting Privacy Code (e.g. they over-charge you for an urgent credit report, or their website information about your right to a free credit report is misleading), you can make a complaint using the agency's complaints process:

If the issue is not resolved through the agency's complaints process, you can make a complaint to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.You can call them on 0800 803 909, send an email or contact either their Wellington or  Auckland office (the contact details are on their website).

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What can I do if I think someone is using my identity to access credit?

If you think you might be a victim of identity fraud then you can ask credit reporters to ‘freeze’ your credit record. You can also ask for a ‘freeze’ if you lose your credit card or other item which someone could use to commit identity fraud.

Once your report is ‘frozen’ it will be more difficult for someone else to get credit in your name. You can find more detail about how the process works on this factsheet from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

If you are worried about identity theft you can find more information, including identifying whether you are a victim of identity theft and how to protect yourself against it, on our Identity theft page, the Department of Internal Affairs website and the Police website.

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How can I ensure I have a good credit record?

Firstly make sure you meet all of your payment obligations. If you are having trouble paying your debt or meeting your repayments seek help as soon as possible. The sooner you seek help the easier it will be. You can find out more about managing your debt on our Credit and Debt management page.

It's worth checking your credit record regularly so you can see if any mistakes have been made. Defaults will remain on your credit record for five years, while missed payments will remain for two years.

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Will I be affected overseas if I have a bad credit record in New Zealand?

If a credit provider overseas wants to know your credit history, they may be able to make an application to see your credit record. This might happen if you apply for a mortgage, a job, or to rent a home overseas.

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Would a credit check bring up unpaid debts from a long time ago?

Your credit report can show any defaults (i.e. where a payment was overdue for more than 30 days, and the lender took steps to recover the outstanding amount) from up to five years ago – even if you subsequently paid the amount in full.

Information about your repayment history, where you did not default, can be kept on your credit record for up to 24 months.

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I am interested in renting a property. The property agent wants to do a credit check on me first, but said that I will have to pay for it. Can they do this?

A property manager or solicitor (or other person who is acting as a letting agent on behalf of the landlord) is allowed to charge you a letting fee. This is a fee for the letting agent’s services and could include the cost of obtaining a credit check. Note that a landlord cannot charge a letting fee in relation to the tenancy of a property they own.

More information about fees and costs in relation to renting is on our Other renting costs page.