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About credit reference agencies...

Q. What are credit reference agencies? A. Sometimes inaccurately referred to as the "blacklist", credit reference agencies are businesses which collect and store information on a person's financial position in order to give the information to potential lenders. These agencies provide information to banks, building societies, finance companies and major retailers. The lender uses the information provided by the credit reference agency, together with the information given by the person applying for credit, to decide whether or not to grant credit.

Q. What information is held by credit reference agencies? A. The electoral register, county court judgments, bankruptcies, house repossessions, credit account information from lenders, and a record of which lenders have made a credit reference check on the person's file.

Q. How long do these agencies hold this information for? A. Most is kept for six years. Q. When will missed credit payments be recorded on a credit reference file? A. Most lenders only file serious defaults (missed payments) with credit reference agencies. Guidelines from the Information Commissioner say that a lender can file a default when s/he decides that the relationship with their customer has "broken down." This would normally mean when they have passed the account to a debt collection agency.

Q. How is the information held by credit reference agencies used? A. It can be shared with other lenders when a credit check is made. It can only be accessed by those lenders who provide the information and who are members of the credit reference agency's credit account sharing scheme. Each time a lender carries out a credit reference check, the agency makes a note of this. Q. What information is not held? A. These agencies only hold factual information and do not express any opinion. They do not hold information about a person's race, religion, employment details, medical history or criminal records. They also do not hold details of magistrates' court orders or warrants and liability orders | CABs in Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton can give further advice.

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TODAY: Joe Michna, Citizens Advice Bureau manager
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 20, 2013
Words:355
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