Geelong’s debt issue

Photo by Melissa Walker Horn /Unsplash

Tara Murray

Geelong has recorded one of the lowest average credit score in the state according to a report from financial technology company ClearScore.

Credit scores, also known as credit ratings, are often used by financial institutions when assessing whether to approve loans.

Higher credit scores are usually the result of an individual displaying a history of on-time payments and low balances on their credit card.

Late or missed payments and a high credit card balance is often viewed as negative.

ClearScore’s report into average credit scores across Australia, based on information from the credit bureau Experian, found that Victoria’s average credit score was 684 only behind the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.

An Experian credit score of 700 or higher is considered “very good”.

Geelong recorded a credit score of just 668, the 10th lowest in the state.

In Victoria, Mildura (647), Latrobe Valley (654) and the Tullamarine-Broadmeadows (655) areas had the lowest average credit rating.

In comparison, Stonnington East recorded the state’s highest average credit score of 743, followed by both Bayside and Boroondara both on 737.

The ClearScore report said that most of Melbourne’s top 10 credit score areas were concentrated in the eastern and north-eastern parts of the city, where median property prices tend to be more expensive.

In March, Consumer group CHOICE released an analysis of 31,000 complaints which the Australian Financial Complaints Authority received about credit products, between November 2018 and December 2020

CHOICE chief executive Alan Kirkland that with mortgage lending at record highs, the housing boom was “pushing home ownership out of reach of many more Australians”.

The Barwon Community Legal Service regularly gives legal advice to consumers about their credit reports, debts and loans.

The service provides free legal assistance to people living in the Barwon region and can help with legal issues relating to consumer, credit and debt problems.

The service has seen the issues their clients are dealing with have become more complex during the COVID 19 pandemic.

A spokesperson said that people need to beware of credit repair companies, which are now required to hold a license.

“The services of these businesses can cost thousands of dollars and only add to a person’s debt and not reduce it.”