GDPR – what do the new Data Protection Regulations mean for you?
You’ve probably heard that the new General Data Protection Regulation (often referred to as GDPR) comes into force on 25th May 2018. In fact, if you are a TFS Loans customer, you will have received an email from us explaining what it is and asking you to update your contact preferences if you want to hear from us in the future about marketing offers.
GDPR replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. It originated from the EU and is designed to increase the power and rights that individuals have over their personal data. Despite Brexit, British companies have been advised by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) to comply with GDPR.
GDPR gives individuals the following rights, which we will discuss in more detail throughout this blog:
- The right to be informed
- The right of access
- The right to rectification
- The right to erasure (also called the right to be forgotten)
- The right to restrict processing
- The right to data portability
- The right to object
- Rights in relation to automated decision making.
The right to be informed: You have the right to be informed about when companies collect your personal data, what data they collect and what they use it for. In most cases, as in the case of applying for a Guarantor loan, you will be aware of the information that you are giving the company, as this is all requested at the point of application. At TFS Loans we have always stated on our application forms / loan agreements / privacy policies what we use your data for – which is only ever in relation to your loan application, but in future you can expect this from all companies. Companies should also tell you how long they are keeping your information for. In other words you should have full transparency from every company that you deal with, with regard to what information they request from you, what they will use this information to do and how long they will keep it. This will help you to decide whether you are happy to give your valuable personal information in the first place. You can request, at any time, to see the information that a company holds on you and in most cases (except where there are good reasons such as you already have this information or it is very difficult to obtain), it should be provided to you in a legible format that is easy to understand.
The right of access: We’ve covered this above to some extent, but essentially this means that you have the right to see the data held by a company about you, so that as and when this is used for processing by a company, you know that it is correct. Most companies should not charge for you to be able to see your data. There is a caveat that where there is substantial data that is difficult to obtain and would result in a substantial cost to the company to retrieve it, a cost may be incurred, but this will not be the case for customers of TFS Loans. You will have the right to access your personal information free of charge. All companies should give you access to your data within 1 month of your request. We will aim to do this as soon as the request is received. Companies should verify that you are who you say you are, before they release any data, so you will be asked by TFS to provide evidence.
The right to rectification: In short this is your right to change or remove any information that a company holds about you which is inaccurate or incorrect. It also allows you to complete any information which is incomplete. You can make this request verbally or in writing and companies must respond within a month. You may be asked to prove that the information held is incorrect and if you are unable to do this, companies are within their rights to decline your request to remove or amend your record. TFS Loans customers can give us a call on 0203 476 7399 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if they believe the information that we hold is inaccurate or incorrect. We also strongly advise our customers to be aware of their credit reports and scores and check the information that is on them. Your credit report affects the type of credit that you can obtain, so if there is inaccurate information on there, this may affect whether you can take out a TFS Loan or any other type of loan, credit card, store card, overdraft etc. You can access your credit report free of charge. Check out this very useful article on Money Saving Expert: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/loans/check-free-credit-report
The right to erasure (also known as the right to be forgotten): This gives you the right to tell a company to remove your personal data, providing that they have no reasonable justification to keep it. Companies have to respond to your request within one month. The principle behind this right, is not for you to be disremembered – which is impossible, but more for outdated, irrelevant or inaccurate data about you, to be removed, because it serves no purpose now. In the case of TFS Loans customers, unlike other companies who have taken information from you that they may never use, or don’t use in relation to the product or service that you obtained, we have only ever asked for information that we needed to process your loan application. If you become a TFS Loans customer, we have a requirement from our regulator, to keep your data for 12 years after your loan has been paid back in full. If you apply for a TFS Loan but do not end up taking the loan, we are required to keep your data for 25 months. However, if you believe any data that we hold is inaccurate, please get in touch with us either by calling 0203 476 7399, emailing email@example.com or visiting our website and requesting a call back: www.tfsloans.co.uk/
Right to restrict processing: You can request that a company stops processing or using your data, provided they do not need to do this to comply with their legal or regulatory obligations or to provide you with a product or service. This isn’t an absolute right – in other words, if a company needs to process your data and has reasonable grounds to do so, it can refuse your request. Companies have to respond to your request within one month. You can make this verbally or in writing.
Right to data portability: This one is quite useful and worth knowing about. Not only do you have the right to access and obtain your data, but you also have the right to tell a company to send your data elsewhere (share your data), so that you don’t constantly have to provide the same data to different companies or services. Companies have to be able to send this data safely and in a format that the other company or service can use it. Companies will only send the data that you have provided to them, not data that they may have obtained about you from elsewhere. This will be particularly useful when you are using services to help you find a better deal or to help you to understand your spending habits. You should be able to switch services more easily in future, helping you to find the best deal.
Right to object: You have the right to object to the processing of your data and how it is used with regards to communications selling you services or products (marketing material) and profiling activity. Companies can still process your data if there is a compelling legal reason to do so or if they have to defend themselves in legal proceedings. Companies should not contact you to sell you other services or products, unless you have given them explicit permission to do so. In other words, they have to have asked you if you are happy to be contacted with offers and you have said yes. It’s important to understand the distinction between marketing material and material that you have a legitimate interest in receiving. Marketing material is essentially selling you something that is additional or not related to the product or service that you originally applied for. So if you applied for a current account with a Bank and they sent you an email advertising a car loan, but you didn’t tell them that they could send you marketing communications, you have grounds to object. They should immediately remove you from all future marketing lists and you should not receive those types of communications from them in the future. If you do, you need to raise an objection with the ICO: https://ico.org.uk/ . However, if you receive a message about the product that you took out with the company or applied for, this is not marketing material. For example, if you bought a pair of glasses in a shop and a couple of years later you receive a message from the shop asking you to come in for a check up to check that the glasses still meet your needs, this would not be construed as marketing material. The company is acting responsibly by checking that the product is still meeting your needs, because your eyesight may have deteriorated or improved over time. Likewise, in the case of TFS Loans, we will continue to send our customers information about their loan e.g. when loan payments are due, any changes to the product or service, if they are eligible to change their product etc. This is our requirement as a responsible lender, to keep our customers informed.
Rights related to automated decision making including profiling: Companies should only be using fully automated processes to make a decision about you, if you are entering into a contract with them, or this is authorised by the law of the country that the company is based in, or you have given your explicit consent. Automated means without any human involvement. You should be told at the point that you provide your information, if the process will be automated. You also have the right to request human intervention or challenge a decision. This one doesn’t apply to TFS Loans customers, because we don’t make lending decisions using automated processes alone. We ensure our applications are checked and verified by experienced human underwriters, because we know that personal circumstances are rarely black or white.
If you are a TFS Loans customer and you want to update your contact preferences just give us a call on 0203 476 4170. You can, of course, unsubscribe from any of our marketing newsletters and offers at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the email or text. We try to keep communications to a minimum, because we know that receiving lots of emails and texts can be irritating, so the most you can expect to hear from us with relevant news and offers is a couple of times a month.
TFS Loans are specialist Guarantor Loan lenders. A Guarantor Loan is a form of loan that requires someone to act as the Borrower’s Guarantor. We offer Guarantor Loans from £1,000 to £15,000, over 1 to 5 years.