Your Equifax score will be a number between 0 and 1200.
A “good” credit score is a number between 622 and 725, a “very good” score is between 726 and 832 and an “excellent” score falls between 833 and 1200.
The comprehensive nature of this information also means that your U.S.-style credit score has just become far more accurate… for better or for worse.
And it’s also far easier to accidentally send it plummeting.
Here are a few of the common money moves that could sink your score and possibly your chances of being approved for a loan.
Score sinker No. 1: Applying for credit too often, or too close together
It is impossible to know the extent to which loan or credit applications in quick succession will hurt your score – but they will. The damage is done whether your application is successful or not.
Even the very act of applying may imply you have a problem with credit.
The data also stays on your file for five years. This means that a seemingly savvy money move – such as diligently repaying an outstanding credit card debt with, say, balance transfers to three, 0 per cent, 12-month deals in a row – could impede your ability to get credit going forward.
Credit providers take a dim view of serial switchers.
Shopping around for the best deal – by applying for a few cards or loans close together – will affect you worse still.
However, whatever you do, don’t apply to another institution if you have been rejected by a first, as you will do dramatic score damage.
Score sinker No. 2: Asking to increase your credit limit on an existing card
Not only are you less likely to get approved for a limit increase, thanks to a three-years-to-clear test of disposable income that was brought in on January 1, even this seeming innocuous action could see your credit score take a hit. This counts as an application and your limits themselves could well also be factored into your score.
Score sinker No. 3: Missing a credit bill by as few as 14 days
Part of the comprehensive information now captured in the snapshot of your money self – and determines your score – is your credit repayment history. In fact, there is a grid that depicts all your repayments in the previous two years.
Being just 14 days late for a credit card or loan repayment will now push down your score.
The message here is that you can no longer afford even to be disorganised. Set phone reminders for all the repayments in your life.
Score sinker No. 4: Defaulting on any bill
You now have just 60 days before it is considered you have defaulted on any bill. Defaults of more than $150 now feed into your score and could impact on the borrowing side of your life for five years.
People living in share houses are in particular peril: if your name is on the bill, regardless of whether you have moved out, you are legally liable for it.
It’s essential to be on top of your admin to avoid falling foul of the all-encompassing new credit rules. Take your name off any contract over which you no longer have control.
Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon is a money educator at themoneymentorway.com
Financial educator, commentator and author.