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Credit Reports - A Tax By Another Name

I've never received a letter quite like the one I received, over the weekend, from one of my credit card providers. 

It started with the sentence "Please sign and return the attached application form today to be entitled to a copy of your personal Credit Report."  No point in beating about the bush, I guess.  None of the flowery rhubarb you normally get - let's hit 'em with it right from the off.

Is this the new approach to Marketing?  I haven't made my mind up whether I prefer the direct approach (at least they get on with it) or whether I want someone to have laboured over some nice prose first, i.e. put a bit more effort into the job of persuading me to buy what's on offer.

But it's the product on offer that hacks me off.  Basically, the card provider wanted me to sign up to paying £8 per month - yes, £96 per year - to allow them to assure me that nobody will hijack my identity and use my credit history to commit fraud.

This is, of course, a mighty cheek.  As I have mentioned before, I believe that CRAs should have an obligation to protect my ID and credit history and should be beholden to me whenever anybody wants to access this sensitive data.  As the letter said, "Every year thousands of individuals can fall prey to credit fraud and a growing number to identity fraud."  Having recognised the problem, instead of using the fact as another means to extract money from people, the industry should be working to close the holes in their defences.

I'm going to treat this letter as a catalyst and start a campaign to clean up the whole mess of CRA data, to enable you and me to have far more control over our credit histories.  I'm going to start with my MP and move upwards.  I might even start a petition on the Downing Street Website.  I'll let you know what happens.  In the meantime, if you agree that CRAs should be more careful with our data, write to your own MP to get them involved in making change.

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