Credit Agencies Rights

Are You On File With The Reporting Agencies?
You need to know there is a file on you listing all your personal financial and credit information. This is held by the various credit reporting agencies. If you have ever had a bank account, credit card or obtained a car loan, the chances are you will be on the files of one or more of the various credit reporting agencies in the country.

These agencies, also known as credit bureaus, compile and sell your credit information to other parties. These credit agencies are responsible for making sure your credit history is accurate and are obliged to give the information they hold for the use of various types of businesses. These include:

  • People you owe money to.
  • Insurance companies.
  • Landlords.
  • Potential employers.
  • Banks
  • Lending institutions.
  • Companies, etc.

If you've ever taken out a loan or had a credit card, then you will have a credit report. The important thing is to make sure that the information and financial history these companies hold on you is correct. If not, you will have to take steps to make the various corrections.

What Do Credit company Files Contain?
A credit company file will include the following records:

  • Your name, address, date of birth, gender, marital status, past addresses, previous names, employer and occupation.
  • All applications for credit cards, hire purchases, or any other type of loan.
  • Details of credit accounts you have.
  • Details of credit card information.
  • Whether you are a director of a company, including the details of companies you own.
  • Whether you are bankrupt or have had bankruptcy proceedings against you.
  • Any findings against you from a tenancy tribunal.
  • All bills you have not paid or defaulted on.
  • Any collection action against you undertaken by any company.
  • Any court debts you owe.
  • Details of loss or stolen IDs you have reported.

What Information Don't They Hold?
In general, the credit agencies will not hold the following:

  • The balances of your bank account.
  • Your religion.
  • Your race.
  • The state of your health.
  • Any criminal records about you.
  • The amount of income that you derive.
  • Any driving infringements, etc.

Who Can Access Your File?
The details in your file are not available to everyone who requests it. Only those companies that have had permission from you will be given access. This permission is usually given at the time you sign up for a loan or for hire purchase, or some other financing with a particular company.

Certain government agencies have the legal right to have a look at your file without your permission, but these are under circumstances allowed under the Privacy Act.

The details on your file will stay there for 5 years, after which time they have to be wiped. If you have been bankrupted, it will stay on your file for 7 years, even though it will show you are discharged after 3 years (three years is the set time after which all bankrupts are discharged from bankruptcy, except in exceptional circumstances).