What is a Credit Reference Agency (CRA)?
Credit Reference Agencies give companies a range of information about potential customers, which companies (such as Thames Water) use to make their decisions regarding their customer accounts.
The information shared may include information about your previous credit history and how you have repaid credit or bills in the past.
They hold certain information about most adults in the UK and collect and maintain information on consumers’ and businesses’ credit behaviour, on behalf of organisations in the UK.
This information is called your credit reference file or credit report.
CRAs may get information from places such as:
Publicly available information:
- The Electoral Register from Local Authorities.
- County Court Judgments from Registry Trust.
- Bankruptcy (and other similar orders) from the Insolvency Service.
Credit information from information on applications to banks, building societies, credit card companies, and other companies such as energy and utilities companies, and also from the conduct of those accounts.
What personal information may be retained by CRAs?
The Personal Information section of your credit report may include items such as your name, date of birth and/or your current and previous addresses in addition to credit information which describes account details and payment history details that credit providers and other lenders have provided to CRAs.
How will Credit Reference Agencies use my data?
The information which we and other organisations provide to the credit reference agencies about you may be supplied by credit reference agencies to other organisations and used by them to:
- Check the operation of credit and credit-related Accounts
- Manage your personal, your partner’s and/or business (if you have one) credit or credit related account or other facilities
- Trace your whereabouts for debt recovery purposes
- Undertake statistical analysis and system testing
How will data NOT be used by Credit Reference Agencies?
- It will not be used to create a blacklist
- It will not be used by the credit reference agency to make a decision
- It will not be used to create marketing lists
How can I get a copy of my credit report?
You can get a copy of your credit report from any of the Credit Reference Agencies. Thames Water will be supplying information to, and receiving information from, Equifax (who in turn stores the data in a secure data warehouse facility) and by going to www.equifax.co.uk you can see your credit report online.
Where can I get a copy of my credit reference file?
You are allowed to write to any of the credit reference agencies and ask for a copy of your credit reference file, be aware though that there may be fee involved. The information they hold may not be the same so it is worth contacting them all. Your letter should include:
- Your full name
- Any other names you have used or been known by in the last six years e.g. your maiden name
- Your full address including postcode
- Any other addresses you have lived at in the last six years
- Your date of birth; and the credit reference agency
You should keep a copy of your letter and you may want to send it by recorded delivery. Unless the agency needs more information, they have seven working days from receiving your letter to provide you with a copy of your file.
The contact details for Equifax (the chosen CRA for Thames Water) for you to use.
Credit File Advice Centre, PO Box 1140, Bradford BD1 5US
0844 335 0550