Credit scores 101

What are credit scores and how can you get some runs on the board with lenders? Keep reading as we take you behind these numbers, the people that put them together and why it's important to pay attention to yours. 

What's in this guide?


We're not down with assigning numerical ratings to people in real life, but it's essential in the lending world. We already know that your street cred is sky high, so rest assured that these ratings have nothing to do with your personality or your character. Rather, credit scores tell lenders how well-placed you are to honour the terms of a loan.

Q1: What is a credit score?

A credit score is a number lenders use to determine how likely you are to pay off a loan. The number sits in a range that differs depending on which credit bureau we're talking about more on those in a bit.

Here are a few reasons credit scores are kind of a big deal:

  • They give you freedom

    By helping illustrate your ability to honour a loan, your credit score allows you to borrow money for whatever you wish.

  • They can help you find a home

    If you're a renter, some landlords will show a preference for those with good credit scores.

  • They can score you a better deal

    A better credit score can sometimes mean a lower interest rate for you. Wisr personal loans reward people with strong credit scores.

Q2: Who's keeping score?

Credit scores are generated by credit bureaus. Basically, they collect data relating to your history of borrowing and how good you are at paying your bills to paint a picture of your creditworthiness. 

In Australia, there are three major ones – Equifax, Experian and Illion. When assessing loan applications, lenders can request a credit report from one or more of these bureaus. 

So, not to freak you out, but that means you actually have three credit scores in Australia.

Q3: How is a credit score calculated?

Credit bureaus calculate your credit score by donning sacred robes and chanting mystic hymns while sprinkling data into their bubbling credit score cauldrons. 

Okay, okay. Not quite. But, the exact way credit scores are calculated is kept under wraps. 

However, we do know the main information used to calculate your credit score:

  • Past credit agreements. Such as utility contracts, credit cards, bank accounts, previous loans and phone and internet service. Details such as who offered the credit, any limits on it and whether it is currently open or closed are taken into account.

  • Credit applications. All past applications you've completed are documented, even if they were unsuccessful.

  • Your payment history. This includes if you've made repayments on time, had accounts in arrears or defaulted.

Credit bureaus also collect other information that's relevant to your repayment ability, such as bankruptcy filings and other legal information.

Q4: How can I check my credit score?

Getting your hands on a free credit report is pretty simple.

Each credit bureau is legally required to give you a free credit score check once every 12 months. You can also get a free credit report if a credit application has been rejected within the last 90 days.

Ready for us to blow your mind? You can see your credit scores – that's right, scores with an s – via our free credit check. Wisr is the only site in Australia that lets you check multiple credit scores in one go in just a couple minutes. If you have too much free time on your hands, or if you just like doing unnecessary work, you can always contact each of the credit bureaus individually. But ain't nobody got time for that.

Scoring tiers

Are you wondering what a good credit score looks like? Since all three credit bureaus use different scales, the numbers and tiers change slightly:

Equifax credit scores 0-1,200 range



Very good






Below average


Experian credit scores 0-1,000 range



Very good






Below average


Generally lenders prefer to loan to applicants who fall into the good category or above.

Q5: How do I improve my credit score?

Even if you've stuffed up, you can still improve your standing with lenders. Like eating better, exercising and minimising your screen time, there's no time like the present to get started with this stuff. 

It could take a while to improve your score, but good things take time, so stick with it.

  • Pay your bills on time

    One of the easiest ways to maintain a good credit score is to pay your bills on time. Despite what you may have heard, leaving some balance on your credit card doesn't make you more attractive. Always aim to pay those suckers off in full and on time.

  • Chop up your unnecessary credit cards

    Lenders get nervy when you have too many lines of credit because that means more chances to rack up debt. Fewer credit cards and lower limits = less opportunity to go nuts.

  • Consider lowering your credit card limits

    Minimising the amount of revolving credit you have available to yourself will make you look like a safer bet to lenders.

  • Double check to make sure your credit score is accurate

    Make sure your credit report is accurate by double checking your open lines of credit and personal info. There's enough hurdles out there – you don't want a typo to torpedo your score.

  • Don't chase credit with more credit applications

    Bad things happen when you chase credit. Each application for credit – from personal, car, and home loans, down to credit cards and BNPL agreements – goes on your credit report. This can make you look like a risky applicant to lenders.

Wisr rewards good credit

Feeling a bit better about the whole credit score sitch? We’re not even at the good bit yet. Here at Wisr, we like to reward good behaviour. Not with extra screen time or gold stars, but with lower interest rates for strong credit scores. By whipping up personalised loans for each applicant, we ensure you get the props you deserve.

Did you find this content helpful?

Disclaimer: This article contains general information only, and is not general advice or personal advice. Wisr Services does not recommend any product or service discussed in this article. You must get your own financial, taxation, or legal advice, and understand any risks before considering whether a product or service discussed in this article may be appropriate for you. We have taken reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but the information is subject to change. We may not update the article to reflect any change.

Joanne is a respected leader of multiple disciplines within Banking, with 17+ years’ experience ranging from credit risk, product management, pricing, analytics and strategic project delivery.

Joanne, Chief Operating Officer

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