Data Sharing

Martin Lewis, founder of the wonderful Money Saving Expert, and I have written this week to the Standing Committee on Reciprocity, which is the club of banks and businesses that write most of the rules on who gets to see financial data about us. 

One of the abuses that concerns us is that if you ask a few banks how much you will be charged for a loan (the adverts after all are only indicative) in order to shop around, then that data is shared with others, who can use it to turn you down for credit, or ask you to pay more, because the last thing they want is canny consumers.

Open Email on Data Sharing

One thought on “Data Sharing

  1. ‘Head of consumer watchdog endorses unusual company structure and billion pound payouts for individuals.’

    I am writing to complain about your endorsement of moneysavingexpert. moneysavingexpert is owned by an unlimited company with a single director. Prior to switching to unlimited company status it traded for several months as a limited company, a period for which it published no accounts. As an unlimited company it does not publish accounts but the business’ owner states on his website his objective is to make himself a billionaire. Why is Consumer Focus endorsing lack of transparency and huge payouts, to quote the Chancellor, when someone claims to be making large amounts of money should Consumer Focus not be investigating?

    The website recently received a complaint on the topic of financial data. The weekly email it sends out to 3 million was confusing in that it read as if anyone could take out a credit card from Vanquis Bank when in fact Vanquis turns down 80% of applicants. See the complaint here.

    In his reply the website’s owner admits there is not enough room to safely explain the complex financial strategies promoted to recipients in the email.

    Note moneysavingexpert’s link to Vanquis Bank’s website is a paid link via moneysupermarket which loads a cookie onto your computer and tracks the consumer’s actions. See terms for these ‘affiliate links’ here

    Terms include:


    ‘You are responsible for all legal and regulatory compliance in promoting the Vanquis card on your website. This includes the requirements under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and where necessary as a credit broker holding the necessary credit licence with the Office of Fair Trading’

    Promotion of the Vanquis card

    ‘Please note that Vanquis (and you as a credit broker in promoting the credit card) is bound by the provisions of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and licensing requirements of the Office of Fair Trading. (See the Office of Fair Trading website.

    It is therefore essential that should you promote the credit card beyond the use of the banners, then any copy must be approved by Vanquis beforehand or your participation in the programme may be immediately terminated.’

    If I ask Consumer Focus to examine moneysavingexpert’s arrangement which appears to be in partnership with moneysupermarket with Vanquis and whether it complies with these terms how can I be assured you are independent?

    You describe consumers who may be adversely affected by data sharing as canny. Are you saying I am not canny? I have had the same bank account for 30 years and never incurred bank charges. I did not take part in what is widely accepted as the greed of the past ten years consequently I have no credit cards having lived within my means. What is your basis for saying I have not been canny?

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