Financial counsellors expect to be swamped with debt concerns

Financial advisers are expecting to be overwhelmed with debt concerns as households struggle to pay higher water and power bills this year, the Herald Sun has said.

The newspaper reported the finding after revealing that about 350,000 Victorians currently have blacklisted credit reports for failing to pay utility bills, skipping loan repayments or declaring bankruptcy.

In addition, it noted that securing credit will become even more difficult once the federal government passes plans to give banks and finance companies more access to personal details such as every credit card, home and personal loan repayment made over two years.

Carolyn Bond, chief of the Consumer Action Law Centre, said that the changes would exacerbate debt problems. However, Chris Gration, a spokesman for the credit reporting agency Veda Advantage, told the Herald Sun that it may prompt conscientious borrowers to compare credit cards and home loans as they are rewarded with better interest rates.

This week, Christine Christian, chief executive of the credit bureau firm Dun and Bradstreet, said that many people are unaware of how their credit report works and have little idea about how to get a copy, even though it is legally available to everyone.

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