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Credit Enquiries: What Are They?

What is a credit enquiry?

Credit enquiries are a record left on your credit file showing that you applied for credit.

This credit file is held by credit reporting agency Veda, which is now acquired by Equifax.

Each time a lender views your credit file, they leave an enquiry as a record of your application with them.

Too many are a problem...

If you have many enquiries on your credit file then the lenders will see you as a high risk borrower.

They worry that you may have been declined by all of the other lenders, and they wonder what the other lenders know about you that they don’t!

As a result, your credit score is reduced.

The good news is that some lenders have low credit score home loans for Australians that have too many enquiries.

The six month rule

When it comes to credit enquiries, the major lenders prefer if you only have one or two enquiries in the last six months, any more than this then it is likely for the banks to decline your mortgage.

However, there are some lenders who are stricter and will ask for explanations for all the enquiries that you have made in the last two years.

In this case it would depend on the reasons that you provide to the banks to determine whether your loan application will be accepted for finance approval or not.

Please call us on 1300 889 743 or enquire online to find out which lenders take a lenient approach to your credit file activity.

How do you get credit enquiries?

Credit enquiries are saved against your credit file each time a bank or credit provider accesses your file.

In most cases this is when you apply for a loan. However it can include:

  • Loans such as mortgages, personal loans or car loans.
  • Credit facilities such as credit cards or store cards.
  • Interest free finance for white goods or furniture.
  • Utilities such as electricity or gas.
  • Telecommunication services such as a mobile phone or broadband contract.

What will not create an enquiry?

Some activities will not cause an enquiry to be lodged on your credit file:

  • Switching loan types (e.g. variable to a fixed rate).
  • Buying a prepaid mobile phone.
  • Closing an existing loan or credit card.
  • Opening a bank account.
  • Opening a visa debit card.

None of these activities will cause a credit enquiry as you are not actually applying for credit. For example a prepaid mobile phone is paid in advance, so it is not a credit facility.

Multiple enquiries for one application

Does your credit file show multiple enquiries even though you only made one application?

This is a common problem and is being addressed by Equifax with upgrades to their database. The main causes are:

  • Amending the loan amount on an application in progress.
  • A preapproval converting into a full application.
  • Errors in the bank’s processing systems.

However, this problem may damage your credit score! If you are one of our customers just let us know and as a subscriber of Equifax /Veda, we can sort this problem out for you.

Are too few enquiries a problem?

Actually yes! However, it is usually only a serious problem for people who have never applied for credit before.

If you have never applied for a loan before then you have no credit file. The first time you apply for a loan your credit file will be created.

If you are in this situation then you can apply for a credit card with a small limit and then use this to prove yourself as a credit worthy borrower. Later you can apply for other types of credit.

However, if you have applied for credit before and you have not applied for credit within the last five years then you are unlikely to be seen as a high risk borrower.

What is my shopping pattern?

This is an industry term given to the types of credit that you apply for and the frequency with which you apply.

For example, someone who has applied for six credit cards all at the same time will be seen as a high risk borrower.

Whereas someone who has applied for a mortgage three years ago and then another mortgage again last month will be seen as a low risk borrower with a good shopping pattern.

Payday lenders are seen as the highest risk type of enquiry.

Have you applied with your current bank?

Some lenders have a rule that if you have already applied with your Main Financial Institution (MFI), which is the bank you have most of your accounts, loans and credit cards with, then they will automatically decline your loan!

The reason why they do this is that they do not know if your bank has approved or declined your loan, and if your loan was declined by your bank then you are likely to be a high credit risk.

The reason why you would be a higher risk if your bank has already declined your loan is that your bank “knows you” better than any other lender. If you have had a problem in the past that doesn’t show on your credit file, they will know about it.

This is an incredibly conservative way to assess a home loan, however many banks continue to use this method.

If you need help to apply with a lender that will not decline your loan just because you have applied with your current bank, then please call us on 1300 889 743 or enquire online and one of our mortgage brokers can call you to discuss your situation.

How long do enquiries stay on your credit file?

Credit enquiries will remain on your file for five years from the date that they were lodged.

However we find they do not have a large effect on your credit file after twelve months have passed.

What information do enquiries contain?

The following details are stored on your file for each credit enquiry and can be accessed by future institutions that check your credit file.

  • The name of the lender / company / institution.
  • The loan reference number / case number.
  • The principal, co-borrower or guarantor (the type of applicant you were).
  • The loan amount.
  • The type of credit (e.g. real estate mortgage, car loan, credit card etc.).

How can I get a home loan if I have too many enquiries?

If you have applied for just one or two credit facilities within the last six months then your next loan may be declined. This is because banks perceive people as “credit junkies” if they have made too many recent enquiries.

Luckily enough there are specialist lenders that can get your application approved despite having made too many enquiries. However you will need to provide an explanation to the banks regarding the reason behind each enquiry and they will assess your loan accordingly.

Please call us on 1300 889 743 or enquire online and one of our mortgage brokers will check your credit score and see if you can get approved.

  • LeoT

    I’ve applied for 3 loans with my bank for business purposes recently. Now, I’m applying for a home loan, will the 6-month rule apply to me ? Will they decline my mortgage application due to this?

  • Hi Leo,

    When it comes to credit enquiries, the major lenders prefer if you only have one or two enquiries in the last six months. In this case it would depend on the reasons that you provide to the bank whether your loan application will be accepted for finance approval or not.

  • satish maragani

    Hi there.. in the last 2-3 months, i have like 8 credit enquiries and none of the defaults or debt payments.. so how long does it take to improve my credit score

  • Hi Satish,
    I’d say in approx 12 months your credit score will be higher. Not changing address, jobs or applying for more credit will help to improve your score.
    Note that we have some lenders that don’t credit score for a home loan. If you were just shopping around for a personal loan or credit card we can likely get you approved. If you have a lot of unsecured debts then you may not qualify. We’d have to look at your full situation to be sure.

  • Max

    I bank with ANZ and I applied for a new credit card with them online.
    The website was malfunctioning and every time I got to the end and submitted the application it returned an error.
    I did this 4 time and the kast time it returned a “declined” response.
    I rung ANZ and I was told that all 4 application were declined because I submitted too many.
    They however approved my application on the phone for the new credit card.
    I asked about the credit file and was told to contact VEDA. At VEDA they rold me I need to check my credit online and then askvthem to correct it.
    I chhecked the online form and they ask a really huge amount of personal details (a lot more than the credit card application) that I am not comfortable disclosing.
    Can you please advise. How bad are 4 declined applications and how long wi be affecting my credit rating
    Thank you

  • Hi Max,
    Yes the 4 enquiries from ANZ would negatively affect your credit file. You need to lodge a formal complaint with ANZ and ask them to remove the extra enquiries. There should only be one enquiry from ANZ.
    If only one ANZ enquiry shows on your credit file then that is ok. You might also like to read this page on improving your credit score

  • Max

    Thank you for your quick replay.
    ANZ is telling me to contact VEDA.
    VEDA tells me to get the credit report, but to get that they ask a lot of personal details.
    Are you saying that ANZ should fix the probkem?

  • Get the credit report first. It’s ok to answer those personal questions.
    Once you have the report you can see if ANZ has 4 enquiries on your file or just 1.
    Then complain to ANZ as Veda cannot fix your file on their behalf. ANZ must fix it.

  • tugboat

    I need a 95% loan to buy a house in a Cat 3 location. I would like to use rent as genuine savings and personal loan as deposit but I think I already have 2-3 enquiries lodged on my credit file. Help!

  • Hi tugboat,

    The borrowed deposit may not be acceptable to all lenders so you’ll need to apply with the right lender that can be flexible for your situation. The enquiries can mean that you may likely fail credit scoring so we have a few other lenders in mind that may be able to help. Note that it may be better to go for a slightly lower LVR at 90% if you can come up with the funds. Please call 1300 889 743 to discuss.

  • jill

    I made an enquiry with a bank about a loan but they declined because I’m discharged bankrupt. I can get a guarantor though! Can’t you help in any way?

  • Hey jill, you may need to change your situation a bit so it can be easier to qualify. This means buying an existing property instead or building, getting parents to cash out equity available to help purchase the property and maybe a personal loan to cover the deposit if you can service it. A parent assist loan can also be an option. Please discuss all this with one of our experts by calling 1300 889 743 to find out your options.

  • Phone man

    Hi. Would it be an issue if I had 12 credit enquiries, which are all from 2012 and 2013, to get a mortgage? I have not made an enquiry ever since and no defaults or anything. I just have a car loan which I am going to pay off this month. Thanks for your help.

  • Hi Phone Man,
    If all 12 enquiries were for phones I’ll be very impressed at your tenacity in dealing with our telcos :)
    I’d say you would be fine. We can do a Veda check which is a view only report so it doesn’t affect your credit file. Once we know your VedaScore then we can see what lenders you qualify for. I’d say you’d be fine with most lenders.
    Feel free to contact us if you’d like some help

  • Simran

    Hi i have 4 enquiries on my credit file in last 3 months I need a personal loan i can get approved for loan?

  • Franz

    Hello HLE

    Is it normal for two credit inquiries to appear on my credit report; 1 for loan application and another one for employment details?


  • Hi Franz,
    There should just be one. Unless your loan was a double deal (e.g. land and construction loan).
    However your employment details are updated based on what was in your application.

  • Erin Kemmis

    I’d like to check my credit history by obtaining a credit report, which I understand can be obtained for free once per year.
    ASIC lists three agencies (one of which is you) that they recommend you obtain your credit report with as you ‘may have a report with more than one agency’.
    Why would the three reporting agencies have different information? How should you select which one to obtain your ‘free’ report from?
    What reason would you need to check your credit report with all three agencies? And lastly, If you need to pay to obtain a report from the two agencies so that you have all the information on your credit history, how does ASIC justify its claims that ‘you have the right to find out what’s in your credit report’, then recommend you check with 3 agencies but only allow one free report per year?
    I am baffled!

  • Hi Erin,
    The two main ones are Equifax (previously Veda) and Dun & Bradstreet. We’re a mortgage broker and so we can check your credit file but we don’t hold a credit file on you.
    Best to get the report from Equifax and yes they can provide you a copy for free. Likely D&B contains the same info so no need to check it.

  • Erin Kemmis

    Great, thanks so much :)

  • Sgt Jeff

    I have 10 credit enquiries from 2012 and one in 2014 for an auto which has been paid off. Enough deposit and good salary. Applied through my bank of 20 years and was declined. Bad credit they said!

  • Hi Jeff
    We can likely help by going with a lender who doesn’t credit score. If you’re after a home loan then give us a buzz.