Barclaycard to vet applicants' debts

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The Independent Online
PEOPLE applying for Barclaycards are likely to be turned down if they refuse to let the card company investigate their borrowings with other lenders.

All applications for Barclaycards now ask people to give consent for details of their borrowing habits to be passed on to credit reference agencies. At the same time, they are also asked if the bank can use information on their other debts, supplied by other lenders via credit reference agencies.

The question has been included on Barclaycard applications since the end of last year. It is part of the preparations to share 'white information' about its borrowers with other lenders. It already shares 'black information' about bad behaviour.

A Barclays spokeswoman said that if an applicant refused to allow their information to be passed on, this would be interpreted as a signal that they may have something to hide. Barclaycard would have to question whether it could issue a card to such an individual.

However, the sharing of white information should also help the bank to build up a better picture of individuals whom it might otherwise have declined. 'We are turning down people we would accept if we knew more about them,' added the spokeswoman.

Barclaycard expects to start supplying the information from next June, which would make Barclays the first high-street bank to do this.

It believes it needs to build up a picture of potential card customers' other borrowing commitments, even if there is no bad-debt record.

This is so it can tell whether the individual is likely to become over-committed.