HSBC criticises data sharing plan

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The Independent Online

The bank said plans by Barclaycard, Co-operative Bank, Egg and Abbey to begin sharing data about the exact details of customers' credit card spending would not necessarily identify struggling borrowers and could invade their privacy.

Martin Hagerty, HSBC's head of retail credit, said: "Our experience strongly suggests the first signs of a customer having difficulties can usually be seen in their unsecured personal loan, so a sharing agreement that does not cover this type of debt will be of limited use."

In August, HSBC became the first bank to share "positive" data from all its personal lending products, including both personal loans and credit cards. The bank gives credit reference agencies details of what its customers owe and records of payments made on time, as well as negative data, held on customers who have defaulted on repayments.

HSBC said it accepted that the four lenders' agreement went one step further, in that data sharing will include all spending and payment activity for every customer. But it claimed the initiative would be of limited use, because only four lenders are, and they only plan to share credit card data.

A spokesman for Barclaycard said: "This is only the beginning and we hope more lenders will come on board."