Migrants face rampant name confusion on credit files

by Mackenzie McCarty22 Jan 2013

Australia Day may be a time when thousands of new Aussis are welcomed to the country, but many migrants are running into trouble with the credit reporting system due to name confusion, with one credit rating repairer saying he deals with the issue on a weekly basis.

CEO of MyCRA Credit Rating Repair, Graham Doessel, says migrants have unique issues when it comes to credit reporting and says the origins for unfair defaults and other credit notations often come from mistakes during identity establishment.

Doessel says some migrant clients are falling into trouble after having incorrect names placed on their credit files, resulting in the wrong person ending up with the default or other credit listing – and it’s something he comes across 'every week'.

“It may be easy to track down and correctly list ‘John Smith’ but some nationalities have three or four names which can be presented in a different order in their country of origin.”

He says apart from identity establishment and identification issues, there is also a lack of education for migrants on the types of credit available, and what type is safest and easiest to manage.

“Migrants may choose lenders with high interest rates and terms that are not user-friendly, ultimately setting them on a path of overdue payments and debt.”

Doessel says new arrivals should make a point of ensuring continuity with their name on any credit they take out and request changes to any bills or documentation which are incorrect.

He also says many don’t know they should be checking their credit file regularly to make sure it’s accurate and free from unfair or incorrect listings.

“It’s actually not just new Aussies who are kept in the dark. Many Australian-born Aussies are unaware they are responsible for checking their credit file, and that they can obtain a credit report every 12 months at no charge.”