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Equifax, TransUnion CIBIL, CRIF High Mark, and Experian, have your sensitive credit-related information. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) monitors the compilation and use of this information. It ensures that you are safe from possible fraud and identity theft. Here are some guidelines established by RBI to ensure that your data is protected:

Confidentiality of Credit Information

In 2019, RBI noticed that lending institutions were sharing credit information of customers with Fintechs. This is as per an article issued by the Economic Times on September 19, 2019. This was being done to expand their business via such digital platforms. To maintain the privacy of customers, RBI issued a notification on September 16, 2019. It condemned such acts and stated that these were against the law.

 

However, the Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act, 2005 was amended in November 2021. This amendment states that “an entity engaged in the processing of information, for the support or benefit of credit institutions, and satisfying the criteria laid down by the Reserve Bank from time to time” can access the credit histories of citizens. This has now enabled Fintechs to access the information and issue pre-approved offers.

Free Credit Information Report

As per the RBI guidelines issued on September 1, 2016, all citizens can get credit reports for free. All four credit bureaus must each provide one free credit report, every year. This helps individuals monitor their credit reports and scores. They can ensure that the report accurately reflects the changes in their credit accounts. Citizens can then raise complaints and file grievances in case of any discrepancies. These are usually resolved within 30 days. This ensures that your credit profile is up-to-date, helping you maintain your creditworthiness. The free full credit report (FFCR) consists of five sections containing:

  • Personal information - Name, date of birth, address, and bank account details

  • Account information - credit limit, type of loan, etc.

  • Days past dues (DPD) information

  • Enquiry information

  • Credit score information

Current Developments

RBI looks to ensure that this sensitive information of borrowers in India is safe. Thus, the guidelines continue to evolve, accommodating the changing needs of citizens. Here are some recent developments you should know about:

1. Hard Inquiry Intimation

Credit bureaus should now inform individuals when lenders access their credit reports. This is as per a notification issued by the central bank on October 26, 2023. These alerts shall be sent via SMS or e-mails to the customers. RBI further clarified that these messages should be sent only if the inquiry is reflected in the CIR. Also, institutions must inform customers when they forward data about their defaults or Days Past Due (DPD) to credit bureaus. These directives are effective from April 26, 2024, i.e. 6 months after the notification was issued.  

2. Grievance Redressal

In case of any discrepancy in your credit report, raise a complaint with your credit bureau. They will contact your lender and ask for an update in regards to the complaint you have raised. After this, the credit bureau makes the required changes to your credit report. This process should ideally be completed within 30 days. RBI further proposed "a compensation mechanism for delayed updation/rectification of credit information”. In case the bureau fails to resolve such complaints within 30 days, they must pay a penalty. This is charged at ₹100 per day as per the guideline. 

 

These are some guidelines that affect the way credit reports are created and shared. Such guidelines help safeguard your private credit-related information. They also protect you from possible fraud and other malicious activities. Follow these guidelines to ensure legal compliance. These will help you gain better control of your credit and financial health.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often can I check my credit information report for free?

As per RBI regulations, you can check your free full credit report (FFCR) once a year. This service has to be offered by all 4 credit bureaus in India. For any more checks, you may be required to pay a nominal fee.

Who can access my credit report?

According to the RBI, entities engaged in the management of information to support or help credit institutions can access your credit history. This is possible only if these entities satisfy the criteria specified by the Reserve Bank.

Which Act overlooks the overall security and management of credit information in India?

All credit bureaus and credit institutions are required to adhere to the CICRA Act of 2005. The RBI issues guidelines which help in the implementation of these laws.

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