Australian Credit Licences – why it’s not just government jargon, and is really important to you.

​Lots of Australians have home loans, but when asked what laws protect them when looking for a home loan, most people are unsure. In this blog I hope to explain an essential part of legislative protection, the Australian Credit Licence (ACL). I will walk through what it is and why it is important to you as a borrower.

From 1 January 2011 by law any business or individual involved in credit or lending activities must hold an ACL, or be appointed as a credit representative under an ACL.

ACLs were made law to ensure that the credit and lending industry is standardised, as well as more fair and transparent. This means you can be confident and well informed when considering which credit products are best for you. The law also ensures that the product you are being sold suits your circumstances. A lender with an ACL is one that has agreed to observe the laws that protect borrowers.

A lender with an ACL will only provide you with a product that suits your personal circumstances. If you are sold a product that you can’t afford to repay, then the lender hasn’t done their job properly. To make sure that you are given a suitable loan product, we ensure that we go through a first-rate assessment process before we approve the loan.

With so many smaller lenders out there, it is important to check that they have an ACL or have been appointed as a credit representative under an ACL. Lenders should have their ACL number listed on their website for you to view. You can look up a lender's ACL on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) website.

You should check whether a lender’s ACL is in a company or individual name. If the ACL doesn’t match the lender you are dealing with, but is that of another entity, you should determine how these entities are related before engaging with them.  You should also be sure to check who is doing the loan assessment for approval. For credit purposes, you want to make sure that you are borrowing money from an organisation that you can trust and that is stable and sound.

If a lender does not list their ACL on their website, you should ask them to provide their ACL number to you so that you can investigate and confirm what ACL or Credit Representative number they operate under. Anyone operating without an ACL is operating illegally. A sign of a good lender is one that is happy to provide their ACL and doesn’t hide it. They can also explain any related parties to that ACL. I always believe that with anything you purchase, the more open and upfront a company is, the more trustworthy they are. This is for anything you purchase, particularly online. is the online brand of wholesale lender FirstMac Limited (FirstMac) and we operate under FirstMac's ACL 290600.

To find out more information, or to check is a lender is licenced by ASIC, you can look them up on the Australian Credit Services Licensee Register or the Australian Credit Representatives Register.

If you have any questions about this topic or other topics, please contact us via our website or call us on 13 10 90.

By Marie Mortimer. You can follow Marie on Google+

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