In its seemingly never-ending mission to protect consumers from both themselves and the cowboy agencies out for a quick buck, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced a new crackdown on credit agencies.
But what – exactly – does this mean for your, your money and your plans for credit?
The Reuters news agency sums it up nicely: The new regulations that it’s proposing will ensure that your private data is kept securely and confidentially and can’t be used for any other purpose. Credit bureaux compile data on your financial habits and standing, which financial institutions such as banks and credit card companies use to decide how much of a risk you are – or how much they’re prepared to lend to you.
The problem identified by MAS – the same one that was identified by their US equivalent several years ago as it tightened regulations after the mess caused by the financial collapse of the last five years – is that data is often incomplete or incorrect resulting in wrong decisions. Also, there are ongoing issues with confidentiality, meaning that your financial data was at risk of being misused.
MAS have suggested tighter regulation on these credit bureaux, which include a licensing period renewed on a five-year cycle to ensure that your financial data is being kept secure and is complete and correct as it should be. A MAS statement said: “Given the large amount of sensitive personal information collected… it is necessary to subject them to more formal oversight by MAS to ensure that they safeguard the credit data and consumers’ interests.”
Singapore is a global model of financial probity, and this move by MAS continues this tradition of making sure that the people in charge of your money, your bank account, and your credit card are as good at their job as they promise.