Parliament passes law to protect consumer credit information

A new law will enable the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to further safeguard consumer credit information.

Under the Credit Bureau Bill, which Parliament passed yesterday, the MAS will be able to license and supervise credit bureaus that collect such information from banks and other financial institutions in Singapore, said Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills).

This helps to make sure the credit bureaus take "adequate measures to safeguard the confidentiality, security and integrity of sensitive borrower information", said Mr Ong, speaking on behalf of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister-in-charge of MAS Tharman Shanmugaratnam. The move will also "better ensure the credit bureaus operate soundly in a way that protects consumer interests".

"As credit bureaus collect larger amounts of and more detailed borrower information, it would be prudent to subject them to closer supervision by MAS," added Mr Ong.

"The current regulatory regime is inadequate as it allows MAS only to recognise or to revoke the recognition of credit bureaus," he said.

He added that MAS will be empowered to license credit bureaus and subject them to corporate governance and operational requirements.

The Bill will also allow MAS to require licensed credit bureaus and their approved members to safeguard the confidentiality, security and integrity of customer credit information, including putting in place adequate controls to safeguard against data loss and unauthorised access to data.

Licensed credit bureaus and their approved members will also have to protect consumers' rights to access, review and rectify the customer information held by the credit bureaus, said Mr Ong.

"A sound, stable and fair credit reporting system supports prudent and sustainable consumer lending practices," he added.

"The Credit Bureau Act will help strengthen the credit reporting industry and align our regulatory regime with international best practices while maintaining adequate safeguards for consumers."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2016, with the headline 'Parliament passes law to protect consumer credit information'. Print Edition | Subscribe