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To: Information Commissioner's Office
Review the role of Credit Reference Agencies in the UK
Investigate the conflict of interest currently encouraged by Credit Reference Agencies here in the UK which are jointly funded by both the financial institutions to which they serve, and the members of the public (us) on whom they collect data to sell on to the financial institutions.
Why is this important?
Credit References Agencies sell on our personal data (Credit Scoring) to financial institutions such as Banks, Mortgage Lenders and Credit Card Companies, These Credit Reference Agencies also sell to us services to monitor and improve our credit scores. A conflict of interest therefore exists as it is in the Credit Reference Agencies interest to provide accurate "negative" information to the financial institutions/commercial sector whilst in the same breath providing accurate "positive" information to members of the general public.
Credit Reference Agencies actively encourage the financial institutions to share / pass on the very same negative information that they then ask members of the public to take action / defend against. In computer terms this would be the same as an network security company searching out and encouraging the creation of new viruses to be introduce to the internet, whilst selling anti virus software to protect us from those very same viruses.
The net result is that a huge number of people here in the UK are unable to access conventional lending facilities (High Street Mortgages are one example) and are forced to take more expensive forms of credit.
Mortgages are a good example of this, a late payment on a mortgage resulted in a less favorable credit score when applying for a new mortgage, this increased the expected monthly payments which where prohibitive and forced my family into rented accommodation (landlords do not submit tenant information to credit reference agencies) and so no further monthly payment history can exist, forcing the individual to take more expensive financial offerings placing more strain on his/her budget.