As part of the whole bankruptcy process (now well and truly complete, of course) I’ve been using a couple of free services to keep track of my credit score. It’s been useful to know what’s going on, and where things stand.
I primarily use ClearScore (who use data from Equifax) and CreditKarma – who used to be Noddle – and use data from Transunion (which used to be Legatio)
Part of the reports from both of those (and from Experian, whose ‘free’ service is an absolute dumpster fire, and absolutely refuses to allow me to view my own data) involves past addresses, and people with whom one has had a credit connection – things like a shared mortgage, or whatever.
Looking through the CreditKarma stuff in particular, I noticed that they still have a record of my old addresses going right back to Bracknell – bearing in mind, I moved there back in early 2005… It also still had me linked to Herself for the mortgage we had back on the Norfolk place (which must’ve been 2007/8, if not earlier)
So, I asked them about why this stuff was still on there – bearing in mind, credit stuff is supposed to stay on one’s record for six years and then go – and got a response back that was… less than encouraging. (Note, I’m going to edit some of this so it’s comprehensible without being comprehensive)
There are several reasons why TransUnion UK hold historic address information [including] something called asset reunification, which is when TransUnion UK helps clients trace the holders of lost or forgotten financial accounts, such as pensions or bank accounts. So, if you have an account associated with an old address that you don’t know about, financial institutions will be able to find you.
Another reason [we hold] old historic address information is to help organisations trace individuals who have moved without telling their creditors where their new home is (this is known as debt tracing).
For now, let me confirm that TransUnion UK holds address information indefinitely. However, they are reviewing their policy to see if a fixed upper limit can be set on how long they will keep address data for.
The “Indefinite holding” of that data is definitely a no-no. So far as I know, it’s still the case that if a company doesn’t get in touch with a debtor at all for six years, that debt is no longer viable, and is effectively written off. So historic data could be stored for (I’ll be charitable) seven years, and then get erased. I’d be OK (ish) with that, at least.
But this is information going back more than twice that time. I’ve now filed requests to lose all of that data – I’ve now been at this one address for longer than the six years usually required – and also to take away the connection to Herself. (I can’t imagine she’d be overly happy to still have that connection either) We’ll see what happens on those things.
I’m also going to refer this to the Information Commissioner, because I’m pretty sure they’ll be interested in anyone who claims to be storing personal data indefinitely…