Is it legal for you to hold my personal financial information?

Dear James,

Can you please tell me where do you collect my financial information from?  From the banks?  Is this legal, is this not personal information?  Also if I do not vote but have banking facilities can you still give me a credit report?

Jim, London

Dear Jim,

We collect information from a variety of sources, including publicly available records (such as court judgments and electoral roll information) and information from banks and other lenders (such as loans and credit cards). The latter information is stored with us and accessed by other lenders with your agreement, which lenders obtain each time you apply for credit. To provide this data-sharing service we are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to run a credit reference agency and also registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office to process personal information. As custodians of large amounts of personal data we have a responsibility to look after it very carefully, something that we take very seriously indeed. So we act as gatekeepers, controlling who can see the data, promoting data quality and helping the public see and, importantly, understand their credit reports.  We can run a credit report on anyone – with their permission of course – even if there’s no data registered at all. A copy of your credit report will show you exactly what data we do hold on you. If you can register to vote it’s certainly advantageous as far as credit checking is concerned. Our electoral roll guide explains more. (August 2012)

James
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