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High Street Lending & Personal Details

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 19 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Building Societies Supermarkets

It is important to remember that when each and every one of us applies for a credit card, bank loan or mortgage, that our information is required to complete such an application and therefore is possibly visible to those who might use it for ends other than originally intended.

Every Bank and Building Society holds the personal information of hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of customers with a view to selling them particular financial services or with the purpose of keeping track of existing services already in use by their customers.

These details are held on vast computer systems which can – in some instances – be accessed by branches world wide as and when required.

Your details will be held on file presently with at least one Bank or Building Society and will be made available to varying branches and departments with the view to trying to cross sell financial products and services from their many subsidiaries – and in some cases – from their partners.

Supermarkets, Superstores and Electrical Chains

It is now also common place to have your details stored by any organisation where a guarantee is necessary upon the sale of electrical or clothing goods. Such supermarkets and superstores are required by law to collate such information especially if they are selling televisions, DVD players or other equipment that can pick up or send out a signal like that used in the watching of television. This information is used to track the number of individuals buying televisions in order to ensure that they have up-to-date television licences.

How is My Personal Information Handled?

For whatever the reason for collecting your personal details these institutions by law must ensure that it is held safely and viewed only by those people authorised to do so. In accordance with the Data Protection Act this information must only be used for the purposes in which it was originally collected and must not be passed on to third party organisations without first the holder of such information having sought your permission to pass it on.

Can I Find Out How My Information is being Used?

Again in accordance with the Data Protection Act you may inquire of any organisation in possession of your personal information as to how they use it and store it. You may also ask who accesses this information and also the nature of any or all information stored about you. This is your right as a consumer and also the owner of such information by law.

You can find out about the information kept by these institutions by writing to them and asking them in accordance with the Data Protection Act to divulge how they use, store and view such information and also what is the nature of any information kept about you and your transactions on file. You should be aware that it is a criminal offence for such organisations not to reply to such requests and likewise not to divulge the nature of such information.

Is my Information Safe?

There have been instances in recent times where information from such institutions has been mislead or has been left open to public scrutiny. However it is safe to say that these instances of data breach are rare and as a general rule such information is held and used safely and within the confines of the law.

However as already mentioned if you are unsure or concerned as to how your information is maintained and managed you may ask for more information and a detailed breakdown from those institutions holding it currently.

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