Like all large companies, we share your credit information with credit reference agencies (CRAs) to help us check your finances or to help us identify fraud. This is to make sure we’re acting as a responsible creditor and to help people become visible to creditors. We want to better understand your financial position to make sure we offer you the best products and services.
The information we share can include your name, date of birth and address as well as financial information on your account such as your balance and payment history.
“What do credit reference and fraud prevention agencies do?”
When credit reference agencies get a search from us, they will:
- Place a search “ footprint” on your credit file whether or not this application goes ahead. If the search was for a credit application, the record of that search (but not the name of the organisation that did it) may be seen by other organisations when you apply for credit in the future.
- Link together the records of you and anyone you’ve told us is your financial associate, including previous and subsequent names of parties to the account. Links between financial associates will stay on your and their files until you or your partner successfully files for a disassociation with the credit reference agencies.
They will then supply us with:
- Credit information, such as previous applications and the way you’ve managed accounts in your name and of your associate(s) (if there is a link between you) and/or your business accounts (if you have one).
- Public information, such as County Court Judgments (CCJs) and bankruptcies.
- Electoral Register information.
- Fraud prevention information.
When information about your account(s) is supplied by us to credit reference agencies:
- Details that are supplied on your personal and/or business account (if you have one) will be recorded by them, including any previous and subsequent names that have been used by the account holders and how you/they manage it/them.
- Outstanding debt will be recorded by them, If you borrow and don’t repay in full and on time.
- Records will remain on file for six years after they are closed, whether settled by you or defaulted.
Credit agencies will NOT use your data to:
- Create a blacklist.
- Make a decision.
How credit references may use your data:
The information that we and other organisations give to the credit reference agencies about you, your financial associates and your business (if you have one) may be supplied by credit reference agencies to other organisations and used by them to:
- Prevent crime, fraud and money laundering by, for example, checking details provided on applications for credit and credit related or other facilities.
- Check the operation of credit and credit-related accounts.
- Verify your identity if you or your financial associate applies for other facilities.
- Make decisions on credit and credit-related services about you, your partner, other members of your household or your business.
- Manage your personal, your partner’s and/or business (if you have one) credit or credit-related account or other facilities.
- Trace your whereabouts and recover debts that you owe.
- Do statistical analysis and system testing.
How fraud prevention agencies may use your data :
The information that we provide to the fraud prevention agencies about you, your financial associates and your business (if you have one) may be supplied by fraud prevention agencies to other organisations and used by them and us to prevent crime, fraud and money laundering. For example, they will do this by:
- Checking details provided on applications for credit and credit related or other facilities.
- Managing credit and credit-related accounts or facilities.
- Cross checking details given on proposals and claims for all types of insurance.
- Checking details on applications for jobs or when checked as part of employment.
Fraud prevention agencies will also:
- Verify your identity if you or your financial associate applies for other facilities, including all types of insurance proposals and claims.
- Trace your whereabouts and recover debts that you owe.
- Carry out other checks to prevent or detect fraud.
- Do statistical analysis and system testing.
We and other organisations may access and use, from other countries, the information recorded by fraud prevention agencies.
Your data may also be used for other purposes for which you give your specific permission or, in very limited circumstances, when required by law or where permitted under the terms any relevant data protection legislation.
Your data might also be used to offer you other products, but only where permitted.
The identities of the CRAs, their role also as fraud prevention agencies, the data they hold, the ways in which they use and share personal information, data retention periods and your data protection rights with the CRAs are explained in more detail on the Experian website.
“How can I check my credit?”
You can get your own credit report on the Experian website.
Your credit check with SSE
“Do you do a credit check on every customer?”
Yes. We now credit check every new customer signing up to a monthly payment plan.
When you ask to join us we’ll:
Check our own records for information about:
- Your personal accounts.
- Your financial associates’ personal accounts (if you have one).
- If you’re an owner, director or partner of a small business, we might also check your business accounts.
Search credit reference agencies for information on your personal accounts.
If you’re making a joint application or have done the following things, we’ll check your financial associates’ personal accounts too:
- Previously made joint applications.
- Have joint account(s).
- Are financially linked.
Very occasionally, if we don’t have enough info about you, we might also use information about other members of your family.
If you’re a director or partner in a small business, we may also check on your business accounts.
Search fraud prevention agencies for information about you and any addresses you’ve lived or had your business in (if you have one).
When you ask to join us, this is what we’ll do with the info you give us:
We’ll send it to the credit reference agencies.
If you’re planning to have two or more people on your account or you tell us that you have a spouse or financial associate, we may:
- Search, link and/or record information about you both from credit reference agencies.
- Link any individual identified as your financial associate, in our own records.
- Take both your and their information into account in future applications by either or both of you.
- Continue this linking until the account closes or is changed to a sole account and one of you tells us that you’re no longer linked.
So you must make sure that the other person is happy about you disclosing information about them.
If you give us false or inaccurate information and we suspect or identify fraud, we’ll record this and may also pass this information to fraud prevention agencies and other organisations involved in crime and fraud prevention.
Your data may also be used by us to offer you other products.
Based on your information, we may:
- Assess your credit request.
- Check the details on any applications for credit and credit-related or other facilities.
- Verify your identity.
- Verify the identity of your spouse, partner or other directors/partners.
- Carry out checks to prevent and detect crime, fraud and/or money laundering.
- Use scoring methods to assess this request and to verify your identity.
- Manage your personal and/or business account (if you have one) with us.
- Do periodic statistical analysis or testing to ensure the accuracy of existing and future products and services. These processes may be automated.
What we do when you have an account with us:
- Where you have an account with us or you’re trying to sign up, we’ll give details of your personal and/or business account (if you have one), including names and parties to the account and how you manage it/them to credit reference agencies.
- If you have an account with us and don’t repay in full and on time, we’ll tell credit reference agencies.
- We might make periodic searches of our own group records and at credit reference agencies to manage your account with us, including whether to make credit available or to carry on extending existing credit. We may do this by using an automatic scoring system, which uses information you’ve given us, any information we hold about you and information at credit reference agencies. We may also check at fraud prevention agencies to prevent or detect fraud.
- If you don’t make payments you owe us, we’ll trace your whereabouts and recover debts.
“Will being with you affect my credit rating?”
Yes. If you pay on time each month your rating will improve, but if you miss payments this could have a negative impact.
“How can I improve my score?”
You can improve your score by paying any outstanding debt balance and/or by setting up a regular payment arrangement and sticking to it. You should also make sure your meter readings are up to date so there’s no issues with the accuracy of your bill.
For more information on how to improve your score, visit Experian.
“Why wasn’t I told about the credit check when I signed up?”
We tell all our customers that they might be subject to a credit check before they sign up. This is in the script read out by our agents on the phone, a note in our online sign-up process and our terms and conditions.
“Can I sign up to one of your fixed energy plans and pay cash in arrears if I complete a successful credit check?”
No. Customers can only pay cash in arrears on our variable energy plans.
Your credit check information
“Can I sign up without having my information submitted?”
“What can I do if I believe my information is incorrect?”
“Why might the information on my file not match my current account status?”
There may be a lag between when the information was reported to the CRA and your account today, it’s important to check the date of the submission on your report.
If you fail your credit check
“What should I do if I fail my credit check?”
You’ll still be able to join us, but you’ll need to pay a security deposit.
We’ll tell you what’s happened by email and ask you to get in touch. However, if we don’t hear from you, your switch will be automatically cancelled 14 days after we sent the email.
“Why did I fail my credit check?”
Unfortunately, we can’t give you specific details. But you can get your credit history from Experian. They also have lots more useful information about what a credit check is and how your credit history will affect your score.
Providing a security deposit
“Why have I been asked for a security deposit?”
It helps us to ensure we treat all our customers fairly, that includes protecting ourselves from customers who won’t pay.
We’ll continue to do all that we can to support vulnerable customers and ensure that they can benefit from our competitive cost-reflective pricing.
“How is my security deposit calculated?”
The security deposit is calculated based on your estimated annual consumption and Direct Debit amount and affordability.
“Is the deposit amount negotiable?”
No. Your options are to make one payment of the full amount requested or not to switch.
“What if I don’t pay my security deposit within 14 days?”
Your switch will be cancelled. If you still wish to sign up with us you’ll need to go through the sign-up process again. This will mean that you go through a second credit check.
“How will this affect my Direct Debit or account balance?”
It won’t. The security deposit is a completely separate payment and won’t affect the balance of your account or how much Direct Debit you pay each month. We’ll only use this money if you switch away and are in debt once you’ve settled your final statement.
“When will I get my security deposit back?”
We’ll return it once you’ve left us and have received your final bill from us. If your account has a debt balance remaining once you’ve left, we’ll take this away from your deposit before returning it