Brokers, accountants and advisers are the “essential link” in credit reporting: ARCA

Damian Paull

Damian Paull

The Australian Retail Credit Association (ARCA) has called on financial intermediaries – mortgage and finance brokers, accountants and financial planners – to use yesterday’s inaugural CreditSmart Privacy Day (7 May) as a catalyst to discussing  recently-introduced changes to the credit reporting system with clients.

On 12 March, reforms to the Privacy Act saw extensive changes to Australia’s credit reporting system , providing a clearer picture of a consumer’s ability to repay debts, enable better matching of consumer credit needs, and give fairer access to credit with increased consumer and privacy protections.

“Mortgage and finance brokers, accountants and financial planners may be the first port of call when a consumer has a problem with their credit report, and an essential link in the chain to inform their clients on the credit reporting system and their consumer rights,” said ARCA CEO Damian Paull.

“It’s vital that we help to educate consumers about what the new laws mean in practice, how credit reports are used, and what protections consumers have so we, as an industry, can help prevent any confusion around the new credit reporting system.  The CreditSmart website is used extensively by advisers to educate themselves and clarify their clients’ new consumer rights, so that they can best advise their clients how to sort out credit report-related issues,” Mr Paull said.

7 May: CreditSmart Privacy Day

Yesterday (7 May) marked Australia’s first CreditSmart Privacy Day– a new awareness day forming part of Privacy Awareness Week (4 – 10 May 2014).

“We’re delighted that CreditSmart is one of the activities during Privacy Awareness Week. It creates the perfect opportunity for financial professionals to introduce credit reporting and the associated privacy protections as part of their important conversations with clients,” ARCA CEO Damian Paull said

Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said greater awareness around the new credit reporting system as a result of a day focussed on credit reporting is a positive thing for all Australians.

“The OAIC is releasing a number of fact sheets today to help consumers understand their credit reporting rights. The fact sheets, together with the CreditSmart website developed by ARCA, provide a good mix of formats for consumers to be better informed about credit reporting,” Mr Pilgrim said.

Consumers and financial professionals can find more detailed information on the credit reporting laws; including detailed steps and explanations on what information is included, who can access consumer credit reports, and directions for consumers to access their credit reports at the CreditSmart website.

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