INSIGHTS ¦ Credit Information Market Study


The Credit Information Market Study Final Report, released in December 2023, explores the current state of the credit information market in the UK, identifying key areas for improvement and proposing a comprehensive package of remedies aimed at enhancing data quality, governance, consumer engagement, and fostering competition and innovation. It highlights the pivotal role of credit information in financial decision-making, identifies shortcomings in the existing framework, and sets out a blueprint for future regulation and industry-led initiatives to better serve consumers and firms alike.

Key Points

  1. Credit information is crucial for effective financial decision-making in retail lending and broader financial services, impacting consumer outcomes and market efficiency.
  2. The market comprises credit reference agencies (CRAs), data contributors, credit information users (CIUs), credit information service providers (CISPs), and consumers, with three large CRAs dominating the UK market: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
  3. The interim report identified significant variations in data coverage among CRAs, issues with data quality, and a need for improved consumer awareness and access to credit information.
  4. The final report proposes remedies across four themes: governance, data quality, consumer awareness and engagement, and competition and innovation, aiming to address the issues identified.
  5. A new governance body, the Credit Reporting Governance Body (CRGB), is proposed to oversee the implementation of certain remedies and ensure more inclusive, transparent, and accountable industry governance.
  6. The remedies package is designed to improve the quality of credit information, enhance competition, foster innovation, and increase consumer engagement.
  7. Mandatory data sharing with designated CRAs and a new regulatory reporting framework are among the FCA-led initiatives.
  8. Industry-led remedies include a common data reporting format and streamlined processes for accessing statutory credit reports and disputing credit information.
  9. The report acknowledges the impact of macroeconomic conditions, such as the cost-of-living crisis, on lenders and consumers, underscoring the importance of timely reforms.
  10. The evolving landscape of digital products, embedded finance, and technology such as AI and Open Banking is considered in the design and timing of remedies.
  11. Stakeholder feedback from the interim report largely supports the proposed remedies, recognizing the need for improvement in the credit information market.
  12. The implementation of remedies will be closely monitored, with success measured by improved market outcomes and reduced consumer harm.
See also  [INSIGHTS]: Consumer Duty Firm Preparedness

Key Takeaways

  • A well-functioning credit information market is vital for consumer protection, efficient lending decisions, and economic growth.
  • Significant reforms in governance, data quality, consumer engagement, and market competition are needed to address existing market shortcomings.
  • The establishment of the CRGB is a pivotal step towards more effective industry governance.
  • FCA-led and industry-led remedies together aim to create a more transparent, inclusive, and innovative credit information ecosystem.
  • Ongoing evaluation and stakeholder engagement are crucial for the successful implementation and adaptation of proposed remedies.
  • The evolving digital finance landscape requires agile and forward-looking regulatory and industry responses to ensure consumer benefits and market integrity.

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