And given that any Australians who are nursing credit card debt are likely to begin looking at debt-reducing options soon, Michael Blyth, ARCA Responsible Lending Expert at consumer education website www.creditsmart.org.au, believed that this could be the first time many become aware of the reforms.
“One of the peak times of the year is in February as people start to look at refinancing the debt which they picked up over Christmas, so for many the changes probably won’t become real until they actually apply for their next credit card,” he said.
“My expectation is that the vast majority of consumers who were previously entitled to a credit card will probably still be able to get a credit card, although it might have a lower credit limit.”
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For Aussies who are unsure about their credit health or are wanting to take some proactive steps to ensure they will be able to apply for products like credit cards in the future, CreditSmart have offered the following tips:
Take control: Information is power, so a great first step to take is by actually finding out what’s on your credit report. The best thing is that Australians can get a copy of their credit reports for free from major credit reporting bodies like Experian and Equifax.
Be realistic: Whether it’s a credit card or a personal loan, limiting yourself to an amount of credit which you can realistically handle and pay off could keep you out of trouble down the track.
Maintain good habits: While the implementation of comprehensive credit reporting will likely mean that providers have greater access to the positive aspects of your credit history it’s still important to make your credit card, personal loan and home loan repayments each month.
Don’t despair: If you are struggling to make your credit card repayments or repayments on any other loan, make sure you contact your provider because they may be able to help you through a difficult spell.