A new research report finds the current Australian consumer credit reporting system is antiquated, and that replacing it with a model that captures more comprehensive consumer credit histories could drive down credit defaults by 25% to 63%. The study, reported in this week’s CardFlash International ([www.cardflashinternational.com]), found that the current system, which restricts lenders to accessing only the negative credit history of the potential borrower, unnecessarily allows some Australians to spiral into debt, while denying basic forms of credit to others who do not have a defined credit history. The ACIL Tasman Report, commissioned by MasterCard, found that a comprehensive system would generate an overall increase in capital productivity of up to 0.1%, which would translate into economic benefits to the Australian economy of up to $5.3 billion, in net present value terms, over the next ten years. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the annual consumer credit market in Australia is valued at around $202 billion and over the past decade the overall rate of growth in consumer credit has averaged more than 14% per annum. ACIL Tasman says Australia stands at odds with the rest of the world by maintaining its current credit reporting regime. The sharing of comprehensive credit information now extends to more than 40 countries, including most countries in the OECD and the Asia-Pacific region.