What you need to know: Credit reports

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It is a list of any payment defaults recorded against our name -- defaults are payments overdue for 30 days or longer, and where the lender has taken steps to recover the money.

Credit files can also show how much we have borrowed -- and whether we are making our regular payments on time.

The more payments you make on time, the better your credit report will be.

Credit reports are held by Dun and Bradstreet, Veda and Centrix.

We have the right to request information held by a credit report.

Defaults can stay on your credit record for five years, even after paying it off.

Lenders will check your history whether to give you any kind of loan -- for your house, car, credit card... even a landlord or boss.

You should pay bills on time. If you guarantee someone else's load and they don't pay, your credit could be affected.

Unpaid fines are not included on a credit record but they may be included if a credit check is done.

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