In 2019, we launched our Credit Information Market Study and published our Terms of Reference. This was paused in April 2020 because of the pandemic. We have restarted this work. See our July 2021 update below.
Our market study
Credit information plays a critical role in many markets. It can impact consumers’ access to a range of financial services (including mortgages, loans and credit cards) and in some cases the price they pay for them. This is significant as, according to the FCA Financial Lives Survey 2017, nearly 4 in 5 adults hold at least one credit or loan product. Furthermore, those vulnerable customers for whom a lender’s decision is more finely balanced are most likely to be affected if the credit information market is not working well.
The market study will focus on the following themes:
- the purpose, quality and accessibility of credit information
- market structure, business models and competition
- consumers’ engagement and understanding of credit information and how it impacts their behaviour
In exploring these themes, the market study will assess how the sector is working now and how it may develop in the future.
Next steps – July 2021 update
We have resumed our work on the Credit Information Market Study. We intend to engage with industry and consumer groups and complete our analysis during Q3 2021, ahead of publishing an interim report in Q1 2022. The study will take account of the Woolard Review recommendations to the FCA.
We have restarted the study with the same scope we set out in the original Terms of Reference and our work will reflect market and regulatory developments relevant to credit information over the last 18 months, including:
- CRA and lenders’ response to the pandemic.
- The impact that the growth in different / new forms of credit could have on credit information.
- Technological and behavioural changes that may alter the way people interact with their credit information (eg greater uptake of Open Banking).
The market study supports our overarching consumer credit strategy. A well-functioning credit information market is critical to delivering the outcomes we want to see in credit markets and that we outlined in our Business Plan 2021/22. The study will also contribute to the delivery of our Fair Value in a Digital Age work, helping ensure that the digitalisation of services delivers greater value for consumers by fostering effective competition while providing appropriate protections.
The role of credit information features in a number of other current projects, including our work to design appropriate regulation for deferred payment credit and a programme of work we are undertaking on borrowers in financial difficulty. Where there are links with this market study we are working closely with those projects to inform our conclusions.
The interim report we intend to publish in Q1 2022 will set out our vision for the credit information sector, our emerging findings (including on lenders’ reporting of forbearance) and our early thinking on any potential remedies. It will also take into account a report we commissioned into potential future developments in the credit information market.
If you have any questions about the Credit Information Market Study or would like to talk to us about the credit information market, contact [email protected]. We are particularly interested in any insight or evidence on the market developments mentioned above, as well as any other relevant market developments since the beginning of the pandemic, and their impact on the credit information market.