Frequently asked questions
Consumer Awareness on Credit Reporting and Credit Bureaus
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How will a lender be able to access my credit report?

Your credit report will be made available to a lender only when you have provided signed consent to that lender to access your report. The lender is required to obtain signed consent from you in support of anapplication for credit. The credit report is generated from a secure system to which the lender has secured access. If you are concerned that your report has been accessed without your consent, you could request from the credit bureau a list of all lenders who have accessed your report.

What is credit reporting?

Credit reporting is a system of collating information from various sources, such as: banks, credit unions,other credit providers and government agencies, on an individual’s credit history. This information is made available to lenders with the consent of borrowers to allow lenders to determine their credit worthiness.Credit reporting enables lenders to make responsible decisions in relation to who is granted credit and theterms under which it is offered. The information obtained through credit reporting therefore, helps lenders to reduce the risks and costs of lending.

What is a credit bureau?

The purpose of the credit bureau is to collate information on your borrowing behaviour to create a “credithistory”. The credit bureau collects information from financial institutions and other credit providers inaddition to a wide range of publicly available information such as court judgments and bankruptcy notices,which is compiled into a credit report. The credit bureau will be allowed to collect information from credit providers such as: banks, insurance companies, mortgage companies, credit unions, telecommunications companies, utility companies, and even public sources like courts, civil records offices, etc. Over time, as it builds up a database with historical information, the credit bureau will produce other tools such as a credit score, fraud prevention and identity theft prevention tools for the benefit of the borrower and creditor.

How do banks and other lenders currently access my credit history?

When your application for credit is being assessed, lenders will contact all the references you have provided and perform credit checks with your previous lenders to see if you have been a responsible borrower. However, a new law will be passed in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) which will allow for the establishment of a credit bureau to provide financial institutions and other types of credit granting institutions, access to your credit history in the form of a credit report.

What can I do to improve my credit?

Some actions that you can take to improve your credit include:

  1. Paying your loans and bills on time (telephone, cable, loans, utilities and hire purchase accounts);
  2. Applying for credit only if you could meet the repayment obligation and the credit is really needed;
  3. Using credit cards wisely - keep balances low and meet minimum payments on time; and
  4. Communicating with your lender to renegotiate terms of repayment or to refinance your obligation, if you encounter difficulties in meeting your payment obligations.
Why is it important to manage my credit?

Managing your credit means paying back the creditor any amount owed, plus the interest or any other charges in the time period agreed. It is important to manage your credit to ensure that:

  1. The terms of repayment of the credit or servicing of the debt remain favourable to you;
  2. The creditor is more likely to approve another loan or offer you a service or product on credit because you have proven that you are likely to make payments as agreed;
  3. You are able to benefit from a lower interest rate, lower fees and other favourable terms because the creditor considers you to be a responsible borrower and rewards you accordingly;
  4. You build a positive credit “track record” with creditors, which will encourage other creditors to want to do business with you; and
  5. You are able to access credit with more favourable collateral requirements.
What is credit?

Credit is money that an individual borrows or a service or a product that an individual buys without making a payment up front. Banks, credit unions and other financial institutions may offer credit in the form of aloan. Other forms of credit include your cell phone charges, telephone charges, utilities charges and hire purchase account balance which you pay at the end of the month or billing cycle.

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