Many people in Australia are experiencing the impacts of COVID-19 and its effects on the economy. Westpac's chief economist, Bill Evans, predicts that the unemployment rate is set to reach 11% by June, while many more people may become under-employed or have their pay/hours reduced to stay in a job.
Many people experiencing the impacts of COVID-19 have contacted their bank to discuss how they can be helped through this difficult time. If they have deferred their repayments on credit cards, personal loans or home loans, people may be wondering if there is an impact on their credit scores and/or future borrowing power.
COVID-19 loan deferrals and credit scores
The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has announced that customer credit scores won’t be affected for people who are granted a deferral of up to six months for their loan repayments due to COVID-19, provided they were up to date with their repayments beforehand.
If a customer is granted a repayment deferral on their mortgage and other credit products, including credit cards, because of COVID-19, banks including Westpac will report customers as not having missed a repayment, provided they were up to date when granted relief.
If people need assistance, it’s important they contact their bank as soon as possible, with their first port of call being the bank’s website or the smart phone app due to the very high volume of calls coming into call centers.
Visit our COVID-19: Customer Support Package site to find out more.
You can request a complimentary copy of your credit report once a year from each credit reporting body and check what’s on your file. Contact a credit reporting body listed below to request your report.
- Equifax: equifax.com.au 13 83 32
- Experian: experian.com.au 1300 783 684
- Illion: illion.com.au 1300 734 806
Visit us to learn more about staying credit smart.
COVID-19 loan deferrals and future borrowing power
A customer’s “borrowing power” is a term that lenders use to describe how much a person may be able to borrow, based on their financial situation. Factors that affect your borrowing power can include how much you earn, how much you owe or repay on other debts such as credit cards, how much you’ve saved as a deposit, your credit history and whether you have a guarantor.
Applying for relief under the COVID package will not directly impact the calculation of your borrowing power. So, the amount of money you are able to borrow in the future should not be impacted as a result of a COVID-19 loan deferral. If, however the impact of the pandemic has altered your level of income, your liabilities or expenses and credit history then this change will flow through into how much you can borrow in the future. For example, if prior to the pandemic you were getting overtime income and now you are not, this will be reflected in your income figure used to calculate borrowing capacity.
Here to help
We understand this is a challenging time, and we'll continue to support our customers now just as we have done for the past 200 years. If you need help visit our COVID-19: Customer Support hub.
Things you should know
This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.
© Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714.