The Central Bank has announced that from 30 September, all lenders considering loan applications of €2,000 or more will be obliged to enquire on the Central Credit Register for a credit report. In this article, we take a look at what exactly credit reports and the Central Credit Register are, and what you need to know as a loan customer.
So, let’s start off with the basics;
What is a credit report?
A credit report details a borrower’s credit rating or score, which gives a lender a good idea of the borrower’s credit repayment history in order to assess the ability of borrowers to repay any future debts.
How is a credit score calculated?
According to Citizens Information; “Banks and other lenders generally send information about borrowers to a central database that is operated by a credit reference agency or credit register. This information includes what credit agreements you have made and your history of repaying them, making it easy to see if potential borrowers have ever defaulted on loans.”
These databases are available for both borrowers and lenders to consult.
So, what is the Central Credit Register?
The Central Credit Register is a new secure system for collecting personal and credit information on loans. It is operated by the Central Bank of Ireland, under the Credit Reporting Act 2013.
For a little over a year now (30 June 2017) lenders, including banks, credit unions, and any other lender that provides consumer loans of €500 and above, have been submitting personal and credit information on those loans to the Central Credit Register. Consumer loans include credit cards, mortgages, overdrafts, and personal loans.
What’s new with the Central Credit Register?
From 30 September, all lenders considering loan applications of €2,000 or more will be obliged to enquire on the Central Credit Register for a borrower’s credit report. In addition, lenders may obtain credit reports if borrowers have sought to restructure of a loan or are in arrears on any loan repayments, or are seeking a loan under €2,000.
Credit reports are available free of charge for consumers (subject to fair usage) and will contain information on these types of loans.
Moneylenders and local authorities have been able to submit information to the Central Credit Register since March 2018 and may also now make enquiries. Information on hire purchase and Personal Contract Plans (PCPs) will be included once legislation has been amended.
Why is the Central Credit Register important?
The Central Bank has stated that it is committed to serving the public interest by safeguarding monetary and financial stability and working to ensure that the financial system serves the needs of the economy and its customers over the long term. The Central Bank uses the Register to get better insights into the overall level and patterns of lending in the economy.
What about the Irish Credit Bureau, is that still a thing?
The Irish Credit Bureau (ICB) is the biggest credit-referencing agency in Ireland. It is a private organisation, owned and financed by its members, which are the main financial institutions, including many credit unions.
It functions in much the same way as the Central Credit Register but it has existed for a longer period and so its records go further back. However, The Irish Credit Bureau’s database will only hold information about you if you have had an active loan in the past 5 years and if your lender has provided information to the ICB.
It's expected that the Central Credit Register will replace the functions of the ICB over the coming years but for now both remain in use by banks and lending institutions when assessing the credit worthiness of loan applicants.
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