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Frequently asked questions about Data Sharing


What is a Credit Reference Agency (CRA)?

Credit Reference Agencies collect data on individuals and companies such as previous addresses, whether or not you’re registered to vote and if you pay your bills on time. Each CRA will give you a credit score based on the information they have about you.

Other companies use this credit score to help them decide whether to loan you money, offer you a mortgage, a mobile phone contract, credit card, or even a gas or electricity account.

We currently share data with TransUnion.

What data do you share about me to a Credit Reference Agency?

Every month, we share information to identify you, such as your name and date of birth, as well as your address, and how long you’ve been our customer. We tell the CRA if you pay your water bill on time or if you owe us money.

We tell you about the data we share using privacy statements on your annual bills, our reminder letters and also here.

We’ll share your overall account balance, as well as a status. The status is saying whether you’re making your payment on time. An OK status means we’ve shared that you’re up to date with your payments with us:

  • Status 1 represents it’s overdue by 1 month or more
  • Status 2 for 2 months or more
  • And so on up to status 3.

We’ll also share a default status if you’re more than 90 days overdue and you have not agreed a payment arrangement with us or paid the outstanding balance.

How will I know if you have shared data about me?

When you open an account with us for your water services, we’ll share your information every month for the whole time you’re our customer.

Why are you sharing my data?

Sharing data can help us offer the right support to you. It helps you to manage your finances, by stopping you from borrowing more money than you can afford to pay back. It also helps to detect and prevent fraud.

By sharing data we can:

  • Make sure your information is always correct
  • Confirm your identity and help protect you from fraudsters (people trying to steal your identity)
  • Help you manage your account
  • Make sure we offer you the right support when you need it
  • Tell you about things that may interest you or help you to save money
  • Find and collect money from you if you do not pay and do not contact us
  • Support companies offering money/credit by only letting you borrow what you can afford
  • Detect fraud and anti-money laundering services
  • Fulfil some of our legal and regulatory requirements under the Water Industry Act 1991.

Can paying my water bill on time improve my credit score?

Paying your water bill on time is a great way to prove to lenders that you’re managing your finances effectively and by us sharing this data it will positively impact your credit rating.

If you don’t have any real credit history of previous loans or credit agreements, paying your existing bills on time will build up a good payment history and make it easier to obtain credit in the future.

Are you allowed to share my data?

We take great care to look after your personal information and share it securely. We share only the minimum amount of information that is required for the purposes listed above.

Under UK data protection laws, companies can share information about you, either with your permission or without your permission, if there’s a valid and important reason to do so.

We have considered carefully our need to share your personal data with a CRA for the purposes outlined above.

Will anyone be able to look at the data you share with Credit Reference Agencies?

No, access to your information is very tightly controlled and only those entitled to do so can see it. There are strict laws and rules which protect your data.

How do I check my credit score?

The easiest way to find out your credit score or rating is through a credit report. You can get a credit report from a credit broker such as Credit Karma.

You have the right to access the information a Credit Reference Agency holds about you. Each Credit Reference Agency can provide you with a copy of the information they hold about you.

I’ve found a mistake on my credit report, what should I do?

If you think you’ve spotted a mistake with your report, you can ask for this to be reviewed through the TransUnion website.

Click here for TransUnion contact details and TransUnion enquiry form

Why has my credit score changed?

As we only share your information, you'll need to contact the Credit Reference Agency to ask them about any changes. You can contact TransUnion here.

What affects my credit rating or score?

Your credit score helps lenders decide if they’ll allow you to borrow money, and lots of things can affect it. If you pay the correct payment on time, you’ll build a good credit score as lenders can see that you’re able to pay back money you’ve borrowed on time.

If you pay your bills late or if you pay less than you should, this lowers your credit score and lenders will consider you a higher risk.

Some things can impact your credit score for up to six years. Examples include if we take you to Court for money you owe and you are given a County Court Judgment (CCJ). We can also ask the CRA to register an overdue balance against your credit file, this is called a Default. If you’re made bankrupt, this will also stay on your credit file for a minimum of six years.

It's important to make your payments on time. Forgetting to make a repayment can still lower your credit score, because anyone looking to lend money/credit won’t know it simply slipped your mind.

If you’re struggling to pay your bill, the sooner you talk to us the more we can help. View our struggling to pay page for further information.

What is a notice of correction?

If you're concerned about information on your credit report you can ask the Credit Reference Agencies to apply a short statement to your credit file to explain a period of debt, this is called a Notice of Correction.

A Notice of Correction is most often applied for one-off incidents, where there were mitigating circumstances. It explains why a debt is showing up and why this is not reflective of your general approach to meeting repayments. Examples of why you might request a Notice of Correction include missed payments due to unemployment or illness. You’ll need to contact the Credit Reference Agencies directly to find out more and if this is the right approach for you, these can only be actioned by Credit Reference Agencies and we’re unable to advise what examples they may accept.

How do I contact the Credit Reference Agency?

TransUnion

TransUnion, One Park Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS3 1EP

Tel: 0330 024 7574

Email: UKConsumer@transunion.com

Web: transunion.co.uk/consumer/consumer-enquiries