Sydney, Australia, 9 June 2022
When a friend of Marianella Watman – who lead the product team at Credit Savvy – had her handbag stolen, it was just the start of her troubles.
The thief impersonated her to obtain new credit cards, which had a detrimental impact on her credit score. It took nearly five years to reclaim her identity and restore her credit score. Her task would have been much easier if she’d known how to access and monitor changes to her credit score and prevent anyone else from taking out new credit in her name.
Inspired by a painful but true story, the concept of SavvyShield was born – only available in the Credit Savvy App, you can now block new credit enquiries in your name with a few taps.
When Marianella joined Credit Savvy and saw the importance of not only monitoring your credit file but also banning access to it when your identity is compromised, the product focus began to evolve from just presenting the score to developing innovative features that help all Australians take control of their credit life.
Founded in 2015, Credit Savvy operates within the x15ventures innovation arm of CommBank. Credit Savvy provides over a million Australians with free access to their Experian credit score and credit report, as well as a wealth of resources designed to help users understand, leverage and protect their credit reputation.
Paul Nicolo, Managing Director of Credit Savvy, explains this complex space succinctly: “Credit Savvy unpicks big credit reports and makes it easy for people to understand. You can log into Credit Savvy 24/7, 365 days a year to check and track changes in your score. With credit bureaus, you can only access your score for free on a quarterly basis.”
The latest solution released by Credit Savvy is SavvyShield.
SavvyShield is an in-app feature developed to combat the growing problem of fraudulent credit applications in Australia, a problem that Marianella’s friend experienced first-hand that’s becoming more prevalent according to feedback from Credit Savvy members.
“80% of identity crime victims experienced financial loss as a result of identity theft, and one of the top three uses of stolen information is credit card and loan applications,” says Marianella.
“If you find a fraudulent application on your credit file, you have to go to the bank that ultimately issued that loan, or line of credit. You also need to ensure that the three credit bureaus amend your credit report because it wasn’t you.”
For victims of identity theft, manually placing a ban on their credit report makes it possible to block potentially fraudulent credit checks and stop new credit from being taken out in their name.
However, the process can be time-consuming and may be confusing. SavvyShield simplifies this ban process for consumers, allowing them to set a 21-day credit ban from the Credit Savvy App.
“In just a few taps in the Credit Savvy App, we facilitate that placing of a ban on your credit report at all three credit bureaus in Australia,” explains Nicolo.
“Whether you’re proactively trying to protect your score, you don’t recognise an enquiry on your report, or you’re generally concerned, SavvyShield is at your fingertips if needed and makes the whole ban process much easier for individuals to manage.”
Unlike a manual ban, initiating a credit report ban with SavvyShield means that users are still able to monitor their credit report for irregular activity while the ban is in place via the Credit Savvy App. In addition, users receive alerts of attempts to access their accounts and can manage the duration of the ban. It’s easy to take fast action, which is vital when dealing with the threat of identity theft.
SavvyShield is just one example of how Credit Savvy helps Australians “live a savvier life”, especially when it comes to the often complex and jargon-driven credit industry.
“We’re also continuously providing updated information to help our members understand their score,” affirms Nicolo. “The number 700 – it sounds cool, but what does it mean? What financial products can a score of 700 get you? Over the next year we’ll be releasing more features that will help our members understand and leverage their score for what they need.”