On 5 December 2023, the FCA published a final report on its credit information market study (MS19/1.3).
The final report follows the FCA’s publication in November 2022 of an interim report which found that whilst the credit information market was working well in a number of ways, there were also several areas where the market could be working better. Issues included significant differences in data between CRAs and that consumers lacked awareness of how to access and dispute credit information.
In the final report, the FCA sets out its proposals to:
- Require FCA-regulated data contributors, such as lenders, to share credit information with credit reference agencies (CRAs).
- Introduce a common data reporting format to enhance consistency across CRAs and promote competition.
- Provide greater control for consumers over how they are viewed through making it easier for consumers to record non-financial vulnerability information.
The FCA says that people will find their credit files better reflect their financial circumstances as a result of these proposals. The change is one of a range of measures to improve the quality of the information collated by CRAs, which is used to inform lending decisions, and boost competition in the market.
Also published as part of the FCA’s announcement are the terms of reference for an Interim Working Group, set up to establish a new credit reporting governance body, designed to be more inclusive, transparent and accountable, which will oversee many of the changes proposed. The FCA expects the working group to start its work in January 2024 and to deliver in 9 months.
The FCA expects to begin consulting on new measures by the end of 2024, including the introduction of a mandatory reporting requirement.