1. Which authority is in charged with supervising credit information companies?
Credit information companies, licensed to operate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, are subject to the supervision and control of SAMA (the General Department for Banking Control) as per the provisions of its law, issued by Royal Decree No. (M/36) dated 11/4/1442H, and the Credit Information Law, issued by Royal Decree No. (M/37) dated 05/07/1429H.
2. What are the companies licensed to carry on business in the credit information sector?
You may know those companies via the following link:
The "Licensed Entities" page on SAMA's website. Or visit the Licensed Entities' page, then "Credit Information" section.
3. How to access rules, regulations and instructions for credit information companies business?
They can be accessed on the following link:
The "Laws and Regulations" page on SAMA's website. Or visit the "Credit Information" section of the Laws and Regulations page.
4. What are SAMA tasks as regards regulation of the Credit Information Sector?
SAMA is empowered by its law with all necessary powers to regulate all financial institutions, including credit information companies. Article (11) of the Credit Information Law has tasked SAMA with supervising and controlling the law provisions. In particular, SAMA has the following tasks:
- Prepare the Implementing Regulations of the Credit Information Law.
- Determine conditions to be met by companies seeking to provide credit information services, as well as controls and procedures for licensing.
- Issue, renew and amend licenses for credit information companies.
- Set up mechanisms for overseeing and monitoring the credit information companies business.
- Approve work procedures to be adopted by members and credit information companies as regards credit records.
- Detect and investigate violations, as well as prosecute violators before the committee.
- Develop measures to be taken as regards credit information in case of revocation of the credit information company license, or its dissolution, liquidation or bankruptcy.
5. What are violations of the Credit Information Law?
Article (12) of the Credit Information Law stated the violations, which are as follows:
- Exercising the business of credit information companies without obtaining SAMA license thereon.
- Violating the license conditions and controls by the companies.
- Disclosing any information, acquired by virtue of an official capacity, which is deemed confidential as per this Law, in cases other than those specified herein, by any member, credit information company or any other entity, subject to the provisions of this Law, or any of their employees, while in office or after he/she leaves his/her job.
- Using credit information for any illicit purpose or in violation of this Law provisions.
- Delay of updating credit information on the dates specified in the Implementing Regulations by member(s) or credit information companies, or their failure to correct an error immediately upon its detection.
- Providing incorrect or forged data of any consumer.
- Failure of members, bound by membership agreements, to provide required credit information, or delay in providing such information on dates specified in the Implementing Regulations.
- Any other violation of the provisions of the Credit Information Law and its Implementing Regulations.
6. What is the importance of a credit information sector?
It is important because it covers all credit dealings of the financial sector or of other creditors and it plays a major and prominent role in assisting financial institutions and creditors to take rational and sound credit decisions. This depends on accurate assessment of the customers' credit ability to repay. It also contributes to enhancing the efficiency of risk management and improving access to finance, especially for individuals and small and medium enterprises, apart from its main contribution to financial stability, enhancing economic growth and achieving financial inclusion in the Kingdom.
7. What are the objectives of SAMA supervisory tasks over credit information companies?
SAMA seeks through its supervisory and regulatory powers over the credit information sector to achieve a number of targets, including the following:
- Taking necessary measures to maintain the soundness and stability of the credit information sector.
- Taking necessary measures to encourage effective and fair competition among credit information companies.
- Ensuring that credit information companies always deal with consumers fairly and honestly at all relationship stages. Also, following up and assessing the level of credit education and awareness given by companies to consumers through appropriate programs and mechanisms that enable them to understand the accompanying risks and take sound decisions.
- Following-up developments in the field of credit information (instructions/ decisions/research and studies) and taking the necessary actions thereon.
8. What is the main role of credit information companies?
They are considered as a central data pool in which consumer credit information by members (FIs and other creditors) is kept. Such data include the credit amount, duration, payment status and other information related to the given credit. Members shall update such credit-relevant information periodically. They also provide credit information to members through credit reports that help in assessing the creditworthiness of existing and/or potential customers. Thus, this helps creditors to make sound decisions and assess risks in a faster and better way, which is reflected on the financial stability in general.
9. What are the entities that can join Credit Bureaus as a member?
Public/private licensed credit entities can join Credit Bureaus as a member as per membership agreements concluded with the credit information company.
10. What does credit record mean?
A report issued, by a credit bureaus, containing consumer credit information.
11. Who is the consumer?
As per the definition of the Credit Information Law, the consumer is any natural or legal person engaging in credit transactions.
12. Can individuals join credit bureaus as a member?
No they cannot because only licensed credit entities can join.
13. What is a credit record and why is it important?
A record containing information about the credit facilities given to certain customer, his/her repayment status and his/her credit history as per the information provided by credit bureaus members. It is important because it reflects the credit behavior of the customer and his/her ability to bear credit obligations. This supports Credit Bureau members (financial institutions and other creditors) in evaluating their customer risks, acceptance and credit limit. Credit Bureaus, and companies do not have the right to grant credit, create a credit record for a consumer or share it with any member or company unless upon such consumer written agreement thereon.
14. What areas that a consumer credit record must cover?
As per the Implementing Regulations of the Credit Information Law, the credit record must include consumer information, including:
- The natural person consumer name, ID number, place of residence, current and previous workplace, marital status, educational qualifications and personal information.
- The legal person consumer name, its license to practice the activity, or the commercial registration number and address, as well as any other information.
- Information on any accepted or disputed existing or previous credit(s) regardless of whether such credit is outstanding or deferred, there is a default or delay in its repayment, the debt has been written off or settled, and any guarantees granted to the consumer.
- Any credit case against the consumer and any verdicts issued thereon.
- Any insolvency, bankruptcy or liquidation lawsuit filed against the consumer, the verdicts issued thereon, the name of the liquidator or the bankruptcy officeholder, the value of the assets and debt, the dates of repayment and the liquidation expenses.
- Any free-of-charge checks issued by the consumer, their value, date and any other actions made thereon.
- Any claim issued by an official authority against the consumer that has not been paid.
- The number and names of the members who applied for a consumer credit record during the previous two years as of the record issuance date, as well as the number of issued credit records and their results.
- Any other credit information that affects a consumer creditworthiness.
15. Do the Credit Bureaus have a blacklist?
No, credit bureaus do not have any lists. They only provide records showing the status of customer credit transactions as per information received from members.
16. Can members of Credit Bureaus view my credit record information without my consent?
No, members cannot view consumer credit information unless upon customer consent. Also, a consumer credit record is not established for the first time unless upon consumer written consent.
17. Does the member have to explain its credit refusal reasons for the the consumer?
Yes, if such refusal is due to his/her credit information and upon his/her request.
18. When does the consumer have the right to view his/her credit record for free?
In accordance with the provisions of the Credit Information Law and its Implementing Regulations, he/she may obtain a free copy of the credit record in the following cases:
- For the first time upon its creation.
- Only one time in case of the consumer unaccepted credit dealing.
- Taking a negative procedure against the consumer as per the Implementing Regulations of the Credit Information Law.
- If the consumer is a victim of fraudulence case, such as when it is legally proven that his/her personal information was exploited.
- If a consumer credit record contains false information.
19. Does the consumer have the right to add additional information to his/her credit record?
Yes, the consumer may add information to the credit record that shows his/her personal view of such credit information.
20. Does the consumer have the right to object to the negative information or any piece of information in his/her credit record?
As per the Implementing Regulations of the Credit Information Law, he/she may, at any time, object at to negative procedure or any credit information in his/her credit record in case it is incorrect, not updated, incomplete, old or its legal keeping period has expired. The company shall investigate the subject of the his/her objection within thirty working days as of the date of objection submission for free.
21. What is the legal period for keeping negative information in the consumer credit record?
As per the Implementing Regulations of the Credit Information Law, the credit information company may keep negative information in the consumer credit record for a maximum period of five years as of the date of his/her debt settlement or the resolution of the dispute. This excludes cases of bankruptcy, insolvency and overdue zakat and tax obligations since they are kept for ten years. Existing lawsuits are kept in the credit record until being resolved.
22. When do Credit Bureaus update a consumer credit record?
As per the Implementing Regulations of the Credit Information Law, members shall be in charged of updating the consumer credit information periodically and at least once a week.
23. What is the purpose of my credit record?
It is for viewing:
- All your financial obligations.
- The status of your individual obligations.
- Returned checks in your name (if any).
- Your repayments to any person whom your are his/her guarantor.
- Judicial verdicts by enforcement courts (if any).
- Your credit rating.
24. How can I improve my credit rating?
You can improve your credit rating by paying bills, loans and credit cards on time, which are being reflected on your credit record. You can also improve your credit rating by ensuring that any person you are guarantor of has fully repaid his/her obligations since if he//she defaulted, this will affect your credit rating.
25. As for handicapped persons, how did SAMA required Credit Bureaus to enable them to access such companies products and services easily?
SAMA has approved instructions for services provided to handicapped persons, including a number of requirements that aim to enhance the access of this category to financial products and services easily, remove all physical and behavioral barriers that impede access to financial services, and protect their rights as consumers of financial services.
26. Do Credit Bureaus have the right to decide, on behalf of their member, to grant a consumer a certain credit product or service or not?
As per the Implementing Regulations of the Credit Information Law, they shall not interfere in the members' decision to grant a consumer a certain credit or not. Their role is only limited to collecting credit information about consumers from members and making it available to be shared by and among such members. A member inquires about a consumer credit record upon this consumer approval. They do not interfere in the member decision when considering a consumer solvency before granting him/her a credit product or service. Such consumer data and information available in his/her credit record do not express the Credit Bureaus opinion because their source of this credit information is from members (financial institutions and creditors).
27. Does the creditor is required to enter into a membership agreement with all the licensed credit bureaus in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?
No, any creditor can be linked to at least one credit information company and may enter into a membership agreement with more than one licensed company.
28. What is the entity in charged with considering violations of the Implementing Regulations of the Credit Information Law?
The Committee on Settlement of Violations of the Credit Information Law, formed under Article (14) of the Banking Control Law, issued by Royal Decree No. M/37 dated 5/7/1429H, is the entity to have the jurisdiction to look into and resolve violations and disputes related to the Credit Information Law ant its Implementing Regulations.
29. Does the credit information company have the right to ignore the objection received by a consumer?
No, it must investigate into the objection within thirty working days as of its submission date for free. It must notify the objector with its investigation findings in writing. Such notification should include the following:
- A copy of the consumer credit record upon its amendment in case of a valid objection.
- A summary of the objector's rights as per the Credit Information Law and its Implementing Regulations in case the objection found to be invalid.
30. Does the member have the right to return any negative information that has been deleted or amended from a consumer credit record?
No. In case the member wants to return the negative information to a consumer credit record, it must submit a case before the Committee for Consideration of Credit Information Law Violations to issue its decision in this regard.
31. When can a consumer apply to the Committee for Consideration of Credit Information Law Violations in case he/ she has an objection to a negative decision or credit information in his/her credit record?
In case his/her objection is rejected by the Credit Bureau, he/she may resort to the Committee for Consideration of Credit Information Law Violations.
Note: Arabic shall be the language used in construing these questions.