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Buy Now Pay Later users put on notice by credit agency

Do you use a Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) service like Afterpay or Zip? If so, be warned that one leading credit reporting agency has made a big change that means your BNPL data will go onto your credit report.

BNPL transactions have risen rapidly over the past few years – so much so that they caught financial regulators and credit reporting agencies a little flat-footed.

But Equifax, one of the three main credit reporting agencies in Australia, looks to have caught up.

In a recent email to brokers and lenders, Equifax states that BNPL accounts and transactions will be included in credit reports from 24 July 2021.

“Expect to see two new BNPL account types available for accounts, enquiries and defaults,” the Equifax email reads.

So what does this mean for your credit score?

Don’t stress, time is on your side!

That’s because it’s still early days and Equifax wants to measure how much BNPL data could affect overall credit scores.

“The new BNPL Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR) account types will be quarantined from scores in the short term to prevent any unintended and inappropriate impact on scores. As data builds up over time, we will reassess,” Equifax explains in a FAQ here.

But, Equifax adds, BNPL accounts and transactions will be included in CCR scores as soon as they believe it is sensible to do so.

“We are moving cautiously as we have never seen these types of accounts before, so it is not possible to evaluate and reflect the relationship between [BNPL accounts and transactions] and risk accurately,” they add.

“Equifax will monitor the risk of these accounts as the data accumulates over time.”

But that doesn’t mean lenders won’t be paying attention

It’s worth reiterating that lenders will now still be able to see BNPL transactions and accounts in your Equifax credit report, and according to a parliamentary joint committee this week, they’re already paying very close attention.

Liberal MP and committee chair Andrew Wallace put the following to Zip Co co-founder and chief operating officer Peter Gray: “I have heard that if banks see repayments to buy now, pay later providers, the banks take a very dim view of that person’s credit assessment.”

Mr Gray responded by saying banks would “absolutely” see BNPL providers in a negative light, before later stating: “I can confirm to the committee that the number one reason for [people] closing their [Zip] account is because their bank has told them they need to, to proceed with the mortgage.”

Get in touch today

If you’re worried about what a BNPL account – or multiple accounts – could mean for an upcoming finance application, get in touch with us today on 02 6021 6600. We’d love to help you out!

We’ll be able to run through it with you and give you some pointers on what you can do to get things sorted before applying for finance.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

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