Credit Report: Your Questions Answered

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Credit Report: Your Questions Answered

Author(s):

Central Bank of Barbados


What is a credit report?

Your credit report includes a history of your credit and repayment patterns. To create this report, a credit bureau collects this information from each financial institution from which you obtained credit or from any company that sells items on credit or hire purchase. Your credit rating measures your ability to meet your financial obligations to a company that has offered you credit and/or hire purchase items.

Why is the credit report being introduced?

Credit reporting has been done in Barbados for many years. What the new Fair Credit Reporting Act will do is regulate and expand this activity.

Who is collecting my credit information from?

Your data is collected from financial institutions that offer credit, such as B. commercial banks, finance and trust companies, credit unions and insurance companies.

It may also be levied by utility companies, hire-purchase companies and other entities such as the Student Revolving Loan Scheme.

A more detailed list can be found in the law.

What information is collected about me?

  • A credit agency may collect a variety of information about you:

  • Personal data (e.g. name, date of birth, address)

  • The type and amount of a loan or similar type of credit, including hire purchase, that you have with a financial institution or other entity

  • All your outstanding loans and possible liabilities, eg pending court cases

  • The date you took out loans and the terms of those loans, e.g. B. Principal amount, interest rates and amortization schedule

  • Information about any assets that you use as collateral for a loan or other type of loan

  • The current and maximum balance of your loan

  • The status of any outstanding loans you have, including when you last made a payment on them

  • Any guarantees that you have agreed to provide (for example, if you are acting as guarantor for someone else’s loan)

Do I have to agree to the collection and transfer of my data?

In some cases you may be asked for your consent. However, in other cases, your consent is included in the terms of the credit agreement you enter into with the credit information provider (e.g., financial institution, utility, company).

The Company may also notify you that your information is being shared by posting a physical notice on its premises or by posting a notice on its website. In such cases, doing business with that company after notification will be deemed consent.

Do I need to give a company permission to access my credit information?

Yes. However, a company or other entity may determine that your consent to access your information is a condition of their granting you credit.

Who is my information shared with?

Anyone using the credit reporting agency’s services may obtain your credit report, credit score, or other credit information about you.

This includes banks, credit unions and other financial institutions, hire purchase companies, prospective landlords and potential employers if the position involves significant financial responsibility.

Will I be notified if someone accesses my credit information?

No, you will not be notified when someone accesses your data. However, remember that companies cannot access your information without your consent.

What happens if I do not agree to the collection or sharing of my data?

If you do not consent to having your credit information collected by or shared with an entity, that entity has the right not to enter into an agreement with you.

Can I access my credit report?

Yes. Each year you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report upon request.

What happens if something on my credit report is inaccurate?

If the information provided by Schufa about you is incorrect, you can send a letter asking for the error to be corrected. The credit bureau must, within seven days of receiving your letter:

  • Examine your claim and make any necessary corrections

  • Advise that you can report the dispute to the Central Bank of Barbados

How can I be sure that the information collected about me is safe and will not be misused?

The credit bureau and all providers of credit information must have appropriate systems, policies and procedures in place to protect your information from accidental loss, destruction or damage. Any malicious invasion of your privacy carries a BDS$50,000 penalty.

How will a bad report affect my credit prospects?

A company might refuse to give you credit if they consider you to be a bad credit risk.

Does having good credit improve my chances of getting a loan or other type of credit?

Businesses and other entities have control over who they do business with or not, however it is only natural to prefer dealings with clients who have a good track record of meeting their obligations, as these clients are considered to be lower risk.

How do I get good credit?

The best way to build your creditworthiness is to meet your loan obligations as agreed and speak to your loan provider promptly if you face any challenges.

What Counts as Bad Credit? If my bills are due in the middle of the month but I pay them at the end of the same month after payday, will that affect my credit score?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act does not identify the specific factors that contribute to your creditworthiness. As such, different credit bureaus determine what activities they consider and how much weight they give in determining what constitutes bad credit.

Are different topics weighted differently? Does paying a bill late count as the same as not paying a bill?

Different credit bureaus use different metrics and apply different weights to assess your creditworthiness.

How would something like the moratoria during COVID affect the perception of my creditworthiness?

As the moratoria have been offered by financial institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is doubtful that a person who has accepted the moratoria will reflect related non-payments in their credit score.

How long will it take for my report to be discarded?

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, credit reporting agencies may retain information about your credit history for seven years after you have paid off the loan or other debt.

How often is my credit report updated?

Credit reporting is an ongoing activity, so each time you enter into a new loan agreement or repay an existing loan, it will be reflected on your credit report.

Will everyone start with a clean slate when the law goes into effect?

While the Fair Credit Reporting Act was only recently passed, credit reporting agencies have existed in Barbados for several years. It is therefore likely that these and other bureaus will use the credit information that is currently available about you and build upon it in the future.

Can I be denied a loan, hire purchase or access to a utility if my credit is bad?

Yes. Businesses and other entities can determine with whom they wish to do business and can choose not to do so with anyone they view as a credit risk.

Can a company change the terms of an existing loan or contract based on a credit report?

This is unlikely as the terms of existing agreements would already be fixed. However, your credit report could affect potential future agreements you may enter into with the same or another company.

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