Consumer Action welcomes the proposal to amend the new credit reporting laws so that the five day grace period for late payments recorded on a consumer’s credit report is extended to 14 days.
Under the new laws, which came into effect on 12 March 2014, repayment history information listed on your credit report could show that you were late in making a payment on a consumer credit account if you were only five days late. But, following community concern, a consumer will now have to be 14 days late before a late payment will be listed on their credit report.
The new 14-day limit is in line with what consumer advocates had proposed, and it recognises that being just five days late on a repayment does not indicate whether or not someone is a credit risk.
Fourteen days also reflects the most common pay period for salary or government benefits, which means the consumer could rectify any missed payment by their next pay to avoid a late payment listing.
What if I’m falling behind?
Get on the front foot and speak to the creditor early on. You may be able to push back the due date or set up a revised payment plan. Making these arrangements could help you avoid late payments being recorded against your name.
You may also benefit from speaking to an independent financial counsellor. You can call 1800 007 007 from anywhere in Australia and you’ll be put in touch with a free and independent financial counsellor in your state.
Want to know more about your credit report?
You can order a free copy of your credit report by applying to Veda, Dun & Bradstreet or Experian.
 Repayment History Information is information about whether payments that are due on an account during a month are paid on time or not. This information is only collected for consumer credit contracts (for example, home loans, personal loans, and credit cards). Your credit report will not show any Repayment History Information about other contracts like your utility or phone bills.