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MAS plans to strengthen oversight of credit bureaus

The Monetary Authority of Singapore plans to subject credit bureaus to formal oversight under a new Credit Bureau Act to better protect consumers.

SINGAPORE: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has published a consultation paper outlining proposals to strengthen oversight of credit bureaus so as to safeguard sensitive credit information and protect the interests of consumers.

The plan to subject credit bureaus to formal oversight under a new Credit Bureau Act comes as such entities collect more detailed borrower information from members such as banks, finance companies and credit card companies.

MAS on Tuesday (Aug 12) said a key focus of these requirements will be for credit bureaus and their members to ensure data confidentiality, security and integrity.

For example, members of licensed credit bureaus will be required to provide to a consumer a copy of his credit report at no cost within a specified period of approving or rejecting a credit application. MAS said this is to better enable consumers to access and verify the accuracy and completeness of their credit records.

MAS also said the proposed Credit Bureau Act will impose a legal obligation on licensed credit bureaus and their members to adopt clear and effective procedures to facilitate investigation and rectification of credit data when consumers dispute the accuracy of their credit data.

In addition, as part of good governance, a licensed credit bureau will be subject to annual audits by an MAS-approved auditor and will need to seek MAS' approval for changes to its substantial shareholders, board of directors and chief executive officer.

The consultation paper on credit bureaus is available on the MAS website and comments should reach the central bank by Sep 12.

Currently, there are two credit bureaus in Singapore - Credit Bureau (Singapore) Pte Ltd and DP Credit Bureau Pte Ltd - that are recognised by MAS to collect and disclose credit data to members. 

Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS) said in a statement on Tuesday that "the role of the credit bureau will also become increasingly important now that new measures on unsecured credit have been introduced." It adds that "on the consumers' end, the regulatory oversight will boost consumer confidence in their credit bureau".

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