For some Australians, accessing finance is out of their reach which means borrowing for their first home or a car is a pipedream.
Chief Marketing Officer at Equifax, Roni Millard tells Finance Editor Gemma Acton in the latest series of Game Changers how to remedy that and make sure all Australians can live their financial best.
In her role as Chief Marketer at data, analytics and technology giant Equifax, Roni Millard is intent on explaining to Australians how reaching their financial best and accessing finance to make good of their goals is possible – for everyone.
In corporate speak, it’s called financial inclusion. In everyday speak, it’s about providing access to important information that, once understood, can place consumers in a better position to make the right decisions at different times in their lives. These life moments could be buying a car, bidding at an auction for your first – or next – home, or looking to get that first credit card.
“It’s important to have enough information to be able to navigate across the credit system and be able to understand where you fit,” explains Roni. “For example, are you a migrant, or a student, looking to get your first loan or first mortgage? Equifax can help you make the right decisions and get access to the right services and products, so that you are able to make those life moments become a reality. When you feel financially well, you’re able to navigate the system with confidence because you’ve got the right information behind you.”
Up to 2.5 million Australians currently struggle to obtain credit because they don’t have enough strong credit data on their file. Roni says Equifax is committed to remedying that which begins with understanding how credit scores work and how we can improve them.
“The credit score can range anywhere from 0 to 1200,” says Roni. “The higher the score, the more credible you are in the eyes of the credit provider and the lender. They’re looking at whether you will be a good investment for them if they lend you that finance. Your financial footprint becomes visible in your credit score and there are different behaviours that can either negatively or positively impact what you do.”
Roni’s tip: be vigilant, be on time and pay in full.
“When taking out credit, make sure that you’re paying your repayments on time and in full. Ensure you’re limiting unsecured credit like personal loans and that you’re not taking out multiple loans from different sources. All these behaviours create your financial footprint and are the types of behaviours that indicate to a lender how they should respond to your credit asks,” says Roni
Not only is Equifax playing a role in helping people access finance for real estate, Roni says it’s also increasing transparency between building companies and consumers as they venture into some of the biggest, most important lifetime projects.
“We know that the construction industry has gone through a lot of turmoil and hurt over the last few years. Equifax is really proud to be part of iCIRT, which provides transparency and is bringing trust back into the construction industry,” says Roni.
An iCIRT stamp of authority gives certainty to the consumer that a construction company is reputable, honest, and trustworthy.
“If you’re putting all your money into a property, you want to make sure that every dollar that you’ve earned over the years is actually being put into something that you’re going to be proud of. iCIRT is about providing freedom and reassurance to the consumer, so that once you’re financially included and can access the credit to buy your property, you can trust that what you’re investing in is legitimate,” says Roni
“What we do at Equifax really moves the needle and makes a difference to the lives of Australians – that’s our north star. Purposeful marketing and storytelling in a positive way is an important element of this. By making our message relatable to our audiences, I’m able to help people live their financial best, and that’s what makes me get out of bed in the morning. I feel very privileged and humbled to carry this responsibility.”
To read more about Equifax, check out:
Equifax’s Kari Mastropasqua Interview: ‘Stop Calling Data Analytics Dry’
Equifax ANZ CEO Melanie Cochrane: The Digital Leader Fighting for Financial Literacy and Inclusion
Equifax A/NZ MD Melanie Cochrane Talks About Taking Risks, Leadership And Shares Her Career Highlights