Common COVID-19 Questions: Will deferring my loan repayments affect my credit score?
As many Aussies struggle to make loan repayments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Banking Association (ABA) has announced that any Aussie who is granted a 6 month deferral on their loan repayments (including home loans and other credit products such as personal loans or credit cards), will not have their credit score impacted. This is provided that they were up to date with their repayments before requesting the deferral.
Your credit score & credit report during COVID-19
To ease financial stress, many banks and lenders have agreed on a new approach to credit reporting during the COVID-19 crisis.
If you’re granted a repayment deferral on your loan, your credit score won’t get impacted during the support period, confirms consumer education website, CreditSmart.
This means that missed payments during the deferral period won’t be recorded on your credit report, and your repayment history information will either be reported as ‘up to date’, or no repayment history information will be reported.
If your repayments were already overdue at the time of requesting a payment deferral, your lender will decide on how to report these missed payments after your financial support period has concluded.
Not sure if your lender supports this initiative? Reach out to your lender directly to understand their credit reporting policies and what this means for you and your credit score down the track.
What if I don’t have an arrangement in place?
Without a repayment deferral arrangement in place with your lender, missing your repayments or going into default can negatively impact your credit score and your ability to obtain credit in the future. That’s why it’s important to contact your lender as soon as possible to explain the change in your financial situation, so you can understand what options are available to help you better organise your finances and repayments during this period.
If you have concerns about how your credit score could be affected during this time, we encourage you to stay on top of your credit accounts and monitor your credit history.
What is a repayment deferral?
A repayment deferral or pause on your loan means that you can temporarily stop making loan repayments for the duration agreed upon with your lender, however, you will have to make up the repayments later on.
To assess whether you’re eligible, your lender will take into account your individual circumstances to determine the specifics of the arrangement, such as the length of the financial support period and the terms of your repayment deferral.
With a repayment deferral in place, the lender agrees to not take enforcement action to payments that you miss during the support period.
What does this mean for my future credit applications?
Seeking financial assistance during the COVID-19 crisis, will not exclude you from applying for credit in the future. Your credit score is an indication of your credit worthiness, lenders may use other factors, such as your income, expenses, and employment status to assess your credit application.
Can a default be recorded on my credit report during the deferral support period?
Your lender will not list defaults on your credit report if you have been granted or have requested hardship assistance with them due to the pandemic.
Will my credit score be impacted after the payment deferral period?
If you miss your repayments after your agreed support period with your lender, it could negatively impact your credit score. If you have concerns about meeting your repayments after the COVID-19 support period, make sure you communicate this to your lender to work out other arrangements.
Want to know more information about COVID-19?
You can visit the Australian Retail Credit Association’s consumer website, CreditSmart, to get a more comprehensive overview of the credit reporting practice and industry approach during this crisis.
You can also check out our COVID-19 & your finances series, which contains tips and support information to help you manage your finances during this difficult time.