The Credit Reporting Act 2013 (the “Act”) provides for the establishment of a mandatory credit reporting and credit checking system that will be regulated and operated by the Central Bank of Ireland (the “Central Bank”). The system will be known as the Central Credit Register (“CCR”). Enacted on 23 December 2013, the Act came into force on 27 January 2014.
The purpose of the CCR is to ensure that a credit provider has access to the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding a borrower’s total exposure. It is envisaged that the Act will support responsible lending and borrowing and will enhance consumer protection measures.
Key elements of the Act are as follows:
- Available Information: the Act prescribes the categories of information that the Central Bank may maintain on the CCR and the period for which such information may be held.
- Mandatory Reporting: the Act requires a credit provider to report a comprehensive range of credit information. In doing so, a credit provider must meet specified reporting standards.
- Credit Checks: a credit provider must undertake mandatory credit checks with the CCR for every credit application above a threshold of €2,000. Information accessed as a result of such a check may be used by the credit provider for certain specified purposes only, as set out in more detail in the Act. Such a permitted use includes verification of information provided by the borrowing customer in connection with a credit application.
- Access to Information: the Act provides for security controls in connection with access to information on the CCR.
- Data Protection: the Act extends the role of the Data Protection Commissioner to deal with complaints from any individual or company with an annual turnover of less than €3 million in respect of the person’s personal data that is held on the CCR.
- NAMA/Local Authorities: the Act extends to loans acquired or issued by the National Asset Management Agency and to loans issued by a local authority.
- Fees: although fees may be charged for access to information held on the CCR, consumers are entitled to one free copy of their own record, once in every 12 months. The Central Bank may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, make regulations prescribing a levy to be paid by credit providers for the purposes of meeting expenses properly incurred by the Central Bank in maintaining the CCR.