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Consumer credit history up for grabs

Consumer credit history up for grabs

(18 May 2011 – New Zealand) Information for credit providers to allow reporting of a person’s repayment history, such as whether monthly credit card, mortgage or utility payments were made on time has been proposed by the New Zealand Privacy Commission. The package of changes would help banks and finance companies make robust credit decisions in an environment that demands quick decisions on credit applications.

The changes to credit reporting rules would enable victims of identity fraud to "freeze" their credit records.

Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff said amendments would introduce a more comprehensive style of credit reporting, closer to the practice in the United States.

'Identity fraud is a serious issue and this is a practical response for individuals. I have proposed a way of limiting the risk of someone taking out credit in another person's name,' Ms Shroff said.

The proposed changes to the Credit Reporting Privacy Code would enable consumers to have their credit report suppressed if they were a victim of fraud and the listing of defaults under NZ$100 would also be prohibited.

The amendment would mean there would be continual reporting on a person's repayments whenever they held credit.

'There is no doubt that this would be a more intrusive regime, but I have tried to ensure that there will be benefits to individuals and the community, as well as to business interests,' Ms Shroff said.

'Lenders will be more confident in lending money when they have been able to make more thorough assessments of a borrowers' ability to pay.'
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