With no exchange of data between Gulf and UK credit ratings agencies, British expats returning to the UK may find it difficult to obtain credit if they cannot provide proof of a clean credit history while abroad, Arabian Business has learnt.
“There is no exchange of information at the moment between the domains and I am not aware of any discussion either,” said Neil Munroe, external affairs director at Equifax, a global consumer credit reporting agency.
Evidence of a clean credit history is a key prerequisite for obtaining a loan or credit card in the UK. Therefore, Munroe said he believes that “if that individual has not been around for a while then it is certainly going to hinder that individual’s ability to get credit.”
“The system [in the UK] looks at a credit history as being key to the granting of future credit. So if you are an expat who has been away for a while then you could have an issue trying to reestablish your credit rating in the UK,” he added.
This sentiment was also echoed by James Jones, consumer education manager at UK-based credit ratings agency Experian Ltd.
“Credit report data is not currently shared across borders, so UK-based lenders cannot access credit data stored elsewhere. Generally, the only way for a credit history to follow a consumer moving from one country to another is if the consumer takes a copy of their own credit report with them,” said Jones.
Therefore, any expats planning to return to the UK should obtain a letter from their bank stating that they have maintained a good credit history while in the Gulf and are returning to the UK with all their debts repaid, advised Munroe.
“The best alternative is to bring proof with you that you have good credit rating elsewhere and hopefully you can persuade a lender to take that into account,” he added.