No. Searches can only be made with your permission, except under certain circumstances where we are required to provide information to a Government department, or the Police. When you apply for credit, your permission is obtained in various ways, dependent upon which method of application you use. Some lenders obtain permission through the consent clause or declaration on the application form you complete and sign. If you apply for credit over the telephone, you should be informed verbally before you proceed that a credit search will be carried out with one or more of the CRAs. If you apply for credit over the Internet you should be

asked to confirm that you consent to the declaration or terms and conditions of the account. This should include permission for a credit search to be carried out with one or more of the CRAs.

Who Can Use Consumer Reports?

Any organization which;

  • Has a Data Protection License


  • Holds a Consumer Credit License
  • Definitely required if issuing credit agreements

For full guidance see the OFT website (

And Also has consent

  • Consent is required for searches to be carried out
  • Often on terms of business / application form
  • Can be verbal – must be scripted for consistency