There are three main credit reporting agencies in New Zealand: Centrix, Veda and Dun & Bradstreet. According to Veda, a thousand people a year challenge the information held in their credit files. This is a right people have under the Privacy Act – to see information agencies hold about them, and request a correction if it’s wrong.
I stay on top of my credit report by requesting it from the credit reporting agencies once a year. This gives me the opportunity not only to see my credit information but also to check for the accuracy of my information such as my name, address, types of credit accounts, defaults etc. While I have not yet encountered any inaccurate information, the process of checking contributes to my creditworthiness and general peace of mind.
Credit reporting agencies hold information on almost everyone. They aren’t limited to credit sources such as credit cards, personal loans, car loans and mortgages. Credit reporting agencies also hold information about people’s tendency to make payments on their bills, such as phone, power, gas and electricity.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner conducted a spot check on the three national consumer credit reporters. The spot check was done through a mystery shopping method.
What is mystery shopping?
Mystery shopping is research tool used by organisations such as retailers, market researchers and regulators to measure quality and service standards or test compliance. This is the first time we’ve used mystery shoppers at the OPC – it’s a way to see how agencies behave when they don’t know that anyone is watching.
The spot check tested credit reporters’ practice around fulfilling their access obligations under the Code. We found that:
The full report on our spot check is available here.
Check your own credit report
Everyone has a right to see their own credit report – to take a look at yours if you haven’t already. You can request your report through each of the three agencies’ websites:
You can also create a request for any agency through our online information access tool, AboutMe.
Finally, there is a section on our website devoted to credit information rights.