Covid 19 Status

In line with HM Government requirements to fight the spread of Covid-19 we have measures in place to ensure that we protect our staff, their families and the wider community, but also to ensure that there is minimal disruption to our customers.

Your access to online Multi Agency Credit Reports, Expert Help and Account Management remains unaffected. We take great pride in the support that we provide to our customers and throughout this period will do all we can to minimise the impact on our services. While the country remains in lockdown we will continue to support your queries via a dedicated and experienced team that will be securely working from home, and supported by a Management Team that will continue to be based at our head office and who will be able to provide customer support as required.

The security measures that we have in place to protect your Personal Data, in line with our Privacy Policy, will mean that some elements of our personalised support are affected during this period as our support team will be working with anonymised data when working remotely. Freephone access to our Credit Analysts has been removed during this period while we focus our efforts on continuing to reply to all of your emails and secure messages within one working day.

Thanks for your understanding, and we hope to have full customer support available as soon as possible and wish you well during these challenging times.

CREDIT REPORT SERVICES AND ONLINE EXPERT HELP ARE FULLY OPERATIONAL - PHONE LINES ARE CLOSEDCOVID-19 STATUS

ONLINE SERVICES FULLY OPERATIONAL
PHONE LINES ARE CLOSEDCOVID-19 STATUS

Can Right to Erasure Get Rid of Bad Credit History?

Posted by Jamie Mackenzie Smith in Credit Reports on 5 March 2020

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced on 25 May 2018 and, unless you’ve managed to avoid the internet and checking your emails completely since then, you’re likely to have been bombarded with messages from nervous sounding websites updating their privacy policies.

You could therefore be excused for thinking of GDPR simply as a convenient way of reducing the number of marketing emails you receive, but it goes way beyond that. One important aspect of GDPR is the 'right to erasure', sometimes also referred to as 'the right to be forgotten', allowing individuals to request companies remove all trace of them from their system.

In the world of Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) and the role they play in modern, accurate and responsible lending decisions, being able to build and retain a credit profile of consumers via reciprocity (i.e. data sharing) is the backbone of how the industry works.

Most items stay on your Credit Report for a period of six years, so it’s possible for adverse information – such as late payments, arrears, and defaults – to impact your ability to obtain credit for a long time.

Can I have my credit history deleted under the GDPR’s right to erasure?

With that in mind, can GDPR’s right to erasure let you ‘delete’ your credit history?

No, you cannot simply have your credit history deleted. This is because the right to erasure is, according to the ICO, 'not absolute and only applies in certain circumstances'. Data held for credit referencing purposes is not part of these ‘certain circumstances’ and is instead subject to other strict industry guidelines around data processing and sharing.

The guidelines provided by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) are clear that information held and used by Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) can be held for as long as it is deemed necessary. This is already one of the principles that lenders and CRAs adhere to, which is why your credit history is only held and reported for six years from the date of the account closure, as this is the mutually agreed upon time required to assess an individual’s recent credit history.

Under GDPR, the existing credit reporting ruleset and timeframe for data retention remain intact, so the information on your Credit Report will have been unaffected by the introduction of GDPR.

Why does the information on my Credit Report need to be held at all?

The information about you held by Credit Reference Agencies is vital because it forms the basis of any lending decision (in conjunction with other factors such as affordability) and ensures that each application is assessed in the same informed and objective way. Crucially, lenders can use Credit Reports to ascertain whether the identity of their applicant is genuine, thereby combating fraud and identity theft. Automated credit scoring has long been proven to be more accurate than manual assessment, making it easier for lenders to lend in both a profitable and responsible manner.

In the modern world, if you don’t have a credit history at the Credit Reference Agencies you are very unlikely to be accepted for a mortgage, credit card, mobile phone or most other forms of finance.

This data on your Credit Report contains more than just credit and repayment information - it looks at public data such as your Electoral Roll information and court records as well. This information is checked by a wide variety of sources including landlords, employers and even some insurance providers, and the absence of this information means you’d automatically fail any checks simply because you wouldn’t be found on any system.

With that in mind, even if you could use the right to be forgotten to erase negative payment history (which you can’t), it might actually hinder your chances of getting accepted for credit again in the future more than it would help.

Can I remove negative information?

While it is possible to have certain information on your Credit Report removed or changed, this is only the case if the information is deemed incorrect - errors are rare, but they do happen. The ICO has published extensive guidance for disputing information on your Credit Report, as this process has not changed since GDPR was implemented. If you are concerned that you might have incorrect information on your Credit Report, check out our guide on removing errors.

Where information has been recorded correctly, it will remain on your Credit Report until it is removed automatically. The time it takes for this to happen will vary according to the type of entry but is typically six years.

Why are Credit Reference Agencies exempt from the right to erasure?

Because longstanding regulations are already in place that cover responsible data retention for Credit Reference Agencies, the ICO is satisfied that the standards in place are fair and reasonable to consumers, so few additional changes are needed.

Anything further to the existing guidelines is unlikely to be noticed by the consumer, but small changes may have gone on behind the scenes of each Credit Reference Agency. GDPR also applies to internal data handling, and it is something that most companies will have had to deal with on some level.

As early as 2014, Credit Reference Agencies and debt collection agencies were quick to point out the potential issues of being able to request all data held on an individual is wiped clean, which is why statements from the ICO have been clear in outlining that the way credit data is handled will not be affected.

Does that mean GDPR doesn’t apply to Credit Reference Agencies and lenders?

The principles of GDPR still apply, the same way that they do to all companies and the UK’s Credit Reference Agencies will have taken very careful steps to ensure full compliance.

So what can I do?

Rather than trying to erase your credit history (which you can’t do), you’re much better off being in a position where you know exactly what is held about you by the UK’s Credit Reference Agencies and what it means for your creditworthiness. You need to make sure everything is correct and, should you need it, get expert guidance from one of our professionally qualified Credit Analysts.

You can save time with checkmyfile, the UK’s only Multi Agency Credit Report, which collates your complete information from Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, and Crediva on the same user-friendly platform. You’ll be able to spot any discrepancies easily and get a thorough understanding of your creditworthiness.

If you haven’t already, you can try checkmyfile free for 30 days, then for just £14.99 a month afterwards, which you can cancel online at any time.

Updated 05/03/2020 by Sam Griffin

Guide to Financial Associations

It's not uncommon for someone checking their Credit Report for the first time to notice information that’s out of date or simply inaccurate – but by far one of the most frequent offenders for this is the record of a Financial Association.

Published on 24 Mar 2020 by Sam Griffin

Full Article

Will checking my credit report affect my credit score

Does checking your Credit Report lower your Credit Score? This a question we’re regularly asked, especially as the importance of Credit Reports is becoming more widely understood. The question seems to be based on a simple idea: when someone else checks your Credit Report, it damages your Credit Score, so it must also be true when you check it yourself. Thankfully, this is far from the truth.

Published on 26 Feb 2020 by Kelly Luff

Full Article

How to remove Financial Associations

A Financial Association is another individual with whom you’ve had some financial connection – usually a spouse or partner or family member. Once a Financial Association has been created, it will remain on your Credit Report indefinitely, until you manually request to have it taken off.

Published on 24 Feb 2020 by Sam Griffin

Full Article

Other names on my Credit Report

Your Credit Report is a detailed record of your financial history – one that is central to all sorts of major life events, like applying for a mortgage, a new car, or even a job. Unexpectedly finding another person’s name on your Credit Report can therefore understandably cause a bit of a shock.

Published on 19 Feb 2020 by Sam Griffin

Full Article

The Advantages of a Multi-Agency Credit Report

These days your Credit Report can be checked for any number of reasons throughout the year, including background checks during job applications, landlord checks and even from insurance or utility providers when you shop around for quotes.

Published on 14 Feb 2020 by Paul Anderson Riley

Full Article

Disputing a Late Payment or Arrears Marker on your Credit Report

Many of us have been there – we have too many things on our mind so we may have missed a payment on our credit card or loan. But what happens when you check your Credit Report and spot a late payment or case of arrears that you know aren’t correct? Where do you stand and what can you do to rectify the error?

Published on 7 Feb 2020 by Kirstie Brown

Full Article

Why do organisations share my personal data?

You may have seen recently that Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust has been sharing patient data with the Credit Reference Agency, Experian.

Published on 4 Feb 2020 by Sam Griffin

Full Article

Your Rights When Cancelling a New Credit Agreement

For most people applying for credit the main concern is whether or not they will actually get accepted. But occasionally a change in circumstances (or even just a little time to reflect on your purchase) means that a bigger concern might be whether you can change your mind and withdraw from a credit agreement (be it a credit card, personal loan or other credit facility) after it’s been granted, potentially preventing you from taking on additional financial responsibility that you no longer want or need.

Published on 3 Feb 2020 by Tom Magor

Full Article

Which Credit Reference Agency does my bank use?

Knowing which Credit Reference Agency (or agencies) your bank has a relationship with gives you a bit more insight into who it’s sharing your data with – as well as helping you know which of your Credit Reports will be inspected if you apply for another product with that bank.

Published on 28 Jan 2020 by Sam Griffin

Full Article

What the December 2019 election means for your Credit Report in 2020

The last few years have seen the UK perplexed by peculiar politics, with conversations dominated by polarising Brexit debates, Prime Ministers coming and going, and an increasingly tenuous state of Scotland. The only certainty seems to be the reliable and constant loom of total uncertainty.

Published on 13 Jan 2020 by Sam Griffin

Full Article
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