Data Protection and Privacy

Who are we and how can you contact us?

Optimum Credit Limited (“Optimum”) of Haywood House South, Dumfries Place, Cardiff CF10 3GA is a data controller of your personal information. This means information about you or from which we can identify you. This privacy notice is a statement of how Optimum processes your personal information in accordance with relevant data protection laws. It underpins our approach to respecting your privacy.

 

We can be contacted at any time at the above address including if you have queries about this privacy notice or wish to exercise any of the rights mentioned in it. You can also contact the Data Protection Officer by: Email: DPO@optimumcredit.co.uk

 

This privacy notice may be updated from time to time. This means we may send you an updated copy (depending on whether we are required to do that or not). You can also check www.optimumcredit.co.uk/data-protection-and-privacy regularly so that you can read the up to date version.

 

How do we collect your personal information?
 

We will generally collect your personal information from you directly, including application forms, correspondence, email, telephone, or via our website. If you are introduced to us by a broker or other intermediary, we will obtain some personal information about you indirectly from them when they introduce you to us.

 

In addition, we may obtain your personal information from other sources such as Fraud Prevention Agencies, Credit Reference Agencies, your employer, landlord, other lenders, HMRC, DWP, publicly available directories and information (e.g. telephone directory, social media, internet, news articles), debt recovery and/or tracing agents, other organisations to assist in prevention and detection of crime, police and law enforcement agencies.

 

Some of the personal information obtained from Credit Reference Agencies will have originated from publicly accessible sources. In particular, Credit Reference Agencies draw on court decisions, bankruptcy registers and the electoral register (also known as the electoral roll). We explain more about Credit Reference Agencies below. We have also mentioned above in the lists of personal information that we process some of the Credit Reference Agencies’ other sources of information (which are our own source of information too).  

 

When a broker or other intermediary processes your personal information on our behalf, this privacy notice will apply and you should contact us to exercise your rights under data protection laws. When a broker or other intermediary processes your personal information as a data controller in its own right, its own privacy notice will apply and you should ask them for a copy if you do not have one by the time you are introduced to us.

 

What kinds of personal information about you do we process?
 

We process your personal information for the primary purpose of providing our services, as a mortgage provider, to you. The information that we generally process in connection with these services includes:

  • Your title, full name, your contact details, including for instance your email address, home and mobile telephone numbers;
  • Your home address, correspondence address (where different from your home address) and address history;
  • Your date of birth and/or age, e.g. to make sure that you are eligible to apply for the product and/or that it is suitable for you;
  • Identification documents including document type, date of expiry and country of issue;
  • Your nationality, if this is necessary for us to comply with our legal and regulatory requirements;
  • Records of how you have contacted us and, if you get in touch with us online, details such as your mobile phone location data, IP address and MAC address;
  • Details of shareholdings, prominent functions, directorships and/or employment including for instance your occupation, salary, employer and length of service;
  • Information about your employment status including whether you are employed, retired or receive benefits;
  • Information about your occupier status, such as whether you are a tenant, live with parents or are an owner occupier of the property in which you live at the time of your application;
  • Details of your services with us including for instance application information, affordability assessments, credit history, customer ID number, account number, account balance, account history, security or collateral held by us, and details relating to any other signatories and/or guarantors;
  • Security identifiers including for instance mother’s maiden name;
  • Personal information which we obtain from Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) and Fraud Prevention Agencies (see the section on ‘Fraud Prevention Agencies’ below);
  • Some special categories of personal data such as about your health or if you are a vulnerable customer (more details below);
  • Information which is relevant for your residency and/or citizenship status, such as your nationality, your length of residency in the UK and/or whether you have the permanent right to reside in UK;
  • Your marital status, family, lifestyle or social circumstances if relevant to the mortgage product (e.g. the number of dependents you have or if you are a widow or widower); and
  • Where relevant, information about any guarantor which you provide in any application.

 

We are unable to provide you with products and services or to process your application without having personal information about you. Your personal information is required before you can enter into the relevant contract with us, and/or it is required during the life of that contract, and/or or it is required by laws that apply to us. If we already hold some of the personal information that we need – for instance if you are already a customer – we may not need to collect it again when you make your application.


In cases where providing some personal information is optional, we will make this clear in any discussions regarding the provision of that information. For instance, we will say in application forms, or via the broker or other intermediary, if the alternative (such as work) telephone number can be left blank.

 

Joint applicants, guarantors and powers of attorney


If you make a joint application with your spouse, partner or family member, we will also collect the personal information mentioned above about that person. You must show this privacy notice to the other applicant and ensure they confirm that they know you will share it with us for the purposes described in it. If you look now at the “What are the legal grounds” section (below) you will see reference to consent and a description of some limited scenarios where it may be relevant to what we do with personal information. If we ask you to obtain consent from the joint applicant (such as for marketing) you should do that using the consent capture mechanism that we give or make available to you for that purpose.

 

If you apply for your mortgage with a guarantor, that person will see this privacy notice when he/she submits his own personal information to us because he/she must necessarily sign the application form.

 

If there is somebody who has power of attorney over your affairs, that person will see this privacy notice when we make contact with him/her directly.

 

What are the legal grounds for our processing of your personal information (including when we share it with others)?

 

Data protection laws require us to explain what legal grounds justify our processing of your personal information (this includes sharing it with other organisations). For some processing more than one legal ground may be relevant (except where we rely on a consent).  We set out as follows the legal grounds that are relevant to us.

 

  1. Processing necessary to perform our contract with you or for taking steps prior to entering into it:
    1. Administering and managing your account(s) and related services, updating your records, tracing your whereabouts to contact you about your account and doing this for recovering debt;
    2. Sharing your personal information with payment services providers such as when you ask us to share information about your account with them; and
    3. All stages and activities relevant to managing your account(s) including enquiry, application, administration and management of accounts, illustrations, requests for transfers of equity, and setting up/changing/removing guarantors; and
    4. For some of our profiling and other automated decision making.

 

  1. Where we consider that, on balance, it is appropriate for us do so, processing necessary for the following legitimate interests which apply to us and in some cases other organisations (who we list below) are:
    1. Administering and managing your account(s) and services relating to that, updating your records, tracing your whereabouts to contact you about your account and doing this for recovering debt, to assess your credit worthiness and advise you in relation to products and services;
    2. To test the performance of our products, services and internal processes;
    3. To adhere to guidance and best practice under the regimes of governmental and regulatory bodies such as HMRC, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Ombudsman, the Information Commissioner’s Office and under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme;
    4. For management and audit of our business operations including accounting and insurance;
    5. To carry out searches at Credit Reference Agencies pre-application, at the application stage, and periodically after that. Where you have been introduced to us by a broker or other intermediary they may do these searches on our behalf;
    6. To carry out monitoring and to keep records (see below);
    7. To administer our good governance requirements and those of other members of our Group;
    8. For market research and analysis and developing statistics;
    9. For direct marketing communications;
    10. For some of our profiling and other automated decision making; and
    11. When we share your personal information with these other people or organisations;
    • Your guarantor (if you have one);
    • Joint account holders, trustees and beneficiaries and any person with power of attorney over your affairs (in each case only if relevant to you);
    • Members of our Group;
    • Other payment services providers such as when you ask us to share information about your account with them;
    • Other account holders or individuals when we have to provide your information to them because some money paid to you by them should not be in your account;
    • The broker or other intermediary who introduced you to us;
    • Our legal and other professional advisers, auditors and actuaries;
    • Financial institutions and trade associations;
    • Governmental and regulatory bodies such as HMRC, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Ombudsman, the Information Commissioner’s Office and under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme;
    • Tax authorities who are overseas for instance if you are subject to tax in another jurisdiction we may share your personal information directly with relevant tax authorities overseas (instead of via HMRC);
    • Other organisations and businesses who provide services to us such as debt recovery agencies, back up and server hosting providers, IT software and maintenance providers, document storage providers and suppliers of other back office functions;
    • insurers of any asset securing or proposed to secure your liabilities
    • Buyers, counterparties, rating agents and other relevant parties and their professional representatives as part of any restructuring or sale of any or all of our business or assets or any transaction in respect of which we raise finance on the security of our assets (including by way of a securitisation or similar transaction);
    • Credit Reference Agencies; and
    • Market research organisations who help us to develop and improve our products and services.

 

  1. Processing necessary to comply with our legal obligations:
    1. For compliance with laws that apply to us;
    2. For establishment, defence and enforcement of our legal rights or those of any other member of our Group;
    3. For activities relating to the prevention, detection and investigation of crime;
    4. To carry out identity checks, anti-money laundering checks, and checks with Fraud Prevention Agencies pre-application, at the application stage, and periodically after that. Where you have been introduced to us by a broker or other intermediary they may do these searches on our behalf;
    5. To carry out monitoring and to keep records (see below);
    6. To deal with requests from you to exercise your rights under data protection laws;
    7. To process information about a crime or offence and proceedings related to that (in practice this will be relevant if we know or suspect fraud); and
    8. When we share your personal information with these other people or organisations:
    • Your guarantor (if you have one);
    • Joint account holders, Trustees and beneficiaries, and the person with power of attorney over your affairs;
    • Other payment services providers such as when you ask us to share information about your account with them;
    • Other account holders or individuals when we have to provide your information to them because some money paid to you by them should not be in your account;
    • Fraud Prevention Agencies;
    • Law enforcement agencies and governmental and regulatory bodies such as HMRC, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Ombudsman, the Information Commissioner’s Office and under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (depending on the circumstances of the sharing); and
    • Courts and to other organisations where that is necessary for the administration of justice, to protect vital interests and to protect the security or integrity of our business operations.

 

  1. Processing with your consent:
    1. When you request that we share your personal information with someone else and consent to that;
    2. For direct marketing communications;
    3. For some of our profiling and other automated decision making; and
    4. For some of our processing of special categories of personal data such as about your health or if you are a vulnerable customer (and it will be explained to you when we ask for that explicit consent what purposes, sharing and use it is for).

 

  1. Processing for a substantial public interest under laws that apply to us where this helps us to meet our broader social obligations such as:
    1. Processing of your special categories of personal data such as about your health or if you are a vulnerable customer;
    2. Processing that we need to do to fulfil our legal obligations and regulatory requirements; and
    3. When we share your personal information with other people and organisations such as members of our Group if they need to know that you are a vulnerable customer and your relatives, social services, your carer or the person who has power of attorney over your affairs.  


How and when can you withdraw your consent?

 

Much of what we do with your personal information is not based on your consent, instead it is based on other legal grounds. For processing that is based on your consent, you have the right to take back that consent for future processing at any time. You can do this by contacting us using the details above. The consequence might be that we cannot send you some marketing communications or that we cannot take into account special categories of personal data such as about your health or if you are a vulnerable customer (but these outcomes will be relevant only in cases where we rely on explicit consent for this).  

 

We will tell the broker or other intermediary who introduced you to us that you have withdrawn your consent only if it is our data processor (this means an organisation who is processing personal information on our behalf) or if we are required to do when you exercise certain rights under data protection laws. You should make sure to contact them directly to withdraw your consent for what they do with your personal information as a data controller in their own right.

 

To comply with payment services regulations we have to share some of your personal information with other payment service providers in some circumstances such as when you ask us to share information about your account with them. Whilst those payment services regulations mention ‘consent’ for this, ‘consent’ in that context does not have the same meaning as ‘consent’ under data protection laws. The legal grounds which may be relevant to this are compliance with our legal obligations, performance of our contract with you, our legitimate interests, or a combination of these. This is why if you ask to withdraw consent from what we do with your personal information, we may still have to hold and use your personal information where we need to have it in relation to the payment services regulations.


Is your personal information transferred outside the UK or EEA?
 

We are based in the UK but sometimes your personal information may be transferred outside the UK or the European Economic Area. If it is processed within Europe or other parts of the European Economic Area (EEA) then it is protected by European data protection standards. Some countries outside the EEA do have adequate protection for personal information under laws that apply to us. We will make sure that suitable safeguards are in place before we transfer your personal information to countries outside the EEA which do not have adequate protection under laws that apply to us.

 

For more information about suitable safeguards and (as relevant) how to obtain a copy of them or to find out where they have been made available you can contact us using the details above.

 

How do we share your information with credit reference agencies?

 

In order to process your application, we will perform credit and identity checks on you with one or more credit reference agencies. Where you take mortgage services from us we may also make periodic searches at Credit Reference Agencies to manage your account with us. To do this, we will supply your personal information to Credit Reference Agencies and they will give us information about you. This will include information from your credit application and about your financial situation and financial history. Credit Reference Agencies will supply to us both public (including the electoral register) and shared credit, financial situation and financial history information and fraud prevention information.

 

We will use this information to:

  • Assess your creditworthiness and whether you can afford to take the product;
  • Verify the accuracy of the data you have provided to us;
  • Prevent criminal activity, fraud and money laundering;
  • Manage your account(s);
  • Trace and recover debts; and
  • Ensure any offers provided to you are appropriate to your circumstances.

 

We will continue to exchange information about you with Credit Reference Agencies while you have a relationship with us. We will also inform the Credit Reference Agencies about your settled accounts. If you borrow and do not repay in full and on time, Credit Reference Agencies will record the outstanding debt. This information may be supplied to other organisations by Credit Reference Agencies. The identities of the Credit Reference Agencies, their role 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 Credit Reference Agencies are explained in more detail in the separate leaflet which we refer to later on in this privacy notice.

 

When Credit Reference Agencies receive a search from us they will place a search footprint on your credit file that may be seen by other lenders.

 

If you are making a joint application, or tell us that you have a spouse or financial associate, we will link your records together, so you should make sure you discuss this with them, and share with them this information, before lodging the application. Credit Reference Agencies will also link your records together and these links will remain on your and their files until such time as you or your partner successfully files for a disassociation with the Credit Reference Agencies to break that link.

 

How do we share your information with fraud prevention agencies?

 

The personal information we have collected from you will be shared with fraud prevention agencies who will use it to prevent fraud and money-laundering and to verify your identity. If fraud is detected, you could be refused certain services, finance, or employment. Further details of how your information will be used by us and these fraud prevention agencies, and your data protection rights, can be found by visiting our website at www.optimumcredit.co.uk/data-protection-and-privacy or by contacting our Data Protection Officer by Email: DPO@optimumcredit.co.uk or Post: FREEPOST Optimum Credit Limited.

How long do we keep your personal information?
 

When your personal information is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was obtained, we will take reasonable steps to destroy or permanently de-identify your personal information.

 

However, most of the personal information is or will be stored by us for a maximum of five years after your account is closed, unless a longer retention period is required in case of: queries from you; legal claims by you; and/or legal or regulatory requirements to which we are subject. If you would like further information about our data retention practices, please contact us.

 

What are your rights under data protection laws?


Here is a list of the rights that all individuals have under data protection laws. They do not apply in all circumstances. If you wish to exercise any of them we will explain at that time if they are engaged or not.

 

  • The right to be informed about your processing of your personal information;
  • The right to have your personal information corrected if it is inaccurate and to have incomplete personal information completed;
  • The right to object to processing of your personal information;
  • The right to restrict processing of your personal information;
  • The right to have your personal information erased (the “right to be forgotten”);
  • The right to request access to your personal information and to obtain information about how we process it;
  • The right to move, copy or transfer your personal information (“data portability”);
  • Rights in relation to automated decision making which has a legal effect or otherwise significantly affects you.

 

You have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office which enforces data protection laws: https://ico.org.uk/  

 

If you wish to exercise any of these rights against the Credit Reference Agencies, the Fraud Prevention Agencies, or a broker or other intermediary who is data controller in its own right, you should contact them separately.

 

If you wish to access your personal information, please contact us in writing at Haywood House South, Dumfries Place, Cardiff CF10 3GA or via email using the address: DPO@optimumcredit.co.uk.

 

In order to protect your personal information, we may require identification from you before releasing the requested information.

 

Do we do any monitoring involving processing of your personal information?

 

In this section monitoring means any listening to, recording of, viewing of, intercepting of, or taking and keeping records (as the case may be) of calls, email, text messages, social media messages, in person face to face meetings and other communications.

 

We may monitor where permitted by law and we will do this where the law requires it. In particular, where we are required by the Financial Conduct Authority’s regulatory regime to record certain telephone lines or in person meetings (as relevant) we will do so.

 

Some of our monitoring may be to comply with regulatory rules, self-regulatory practices or procedures relevant to our business, to prevent or detect crime, in the interests of protecting the security of our communications systems and procedures, to have a record of what we have discussed with you and actions agreed with you, to protect you and to provide security for you (such as in relation to fraud risks on your account) and for quality control and staff training purposes.

 

Some of our monitoring may check for obscene or profane content in communications.

 

We may conduct short term carefully controlled monitoring of your activities on your account(s) where this is necessary for our legitimate interests or to comply with our legal obligations. For instance, where we suspect fraud, money laundering or other crimes.

 

Telephone calls and/or in person meetings between us and you in connection with your application and/or your account(s) may be recorded to make sure that we have a record of what has been discussed and what your instructions are. We may also record these types of calls for the quality control and staff training purposes.

 

Profiling and other automated decision making

 

This section is relevant where we make decisions about you using only technology, and where none of our employees or any other individuals have been involved in the process. For instance, in relation to transactions on your account(s), payments into your account(s) from other providers, and triggers and events such account opening anniversaries and maturity dates. We may do this to decide what marketing communications are suitable for you, to analyse statistics and assess lending risks.

 

We can do this activity based on our legitimate interests (and they are listed in the section about legal grounds above) only where the profiling and other automated decision making does not have a legal or other significant effect on you. In all other cases, we can do this activity only where it is necessary for entering into or performing the relevant contract, is authorised by laws that apply to us, or is based on your explicit consent. In those cases you have the right to obtain human intervention to contest the decision (see ‘rights in relation to automated decision making which has a legal effect or otherwise significantly affects you’ below). Profiling for direct marketing can mean there is a separate right to object (see ‘right to object’ above).

 

Your marketing preferences and what this means

 

We may use your home address, phone numbers, email address and social media (e.g. Facebook, Google and message facilities in other platforms to contact you according to your marketing preferences. This means we do this only if we have a legal ground which allows it under data protection laws – see above for what is our legal ground for marketing. You can stop our marketing at any time by contacting us or by following the instructions on how to do that in the marketing email or other communication.

 

Data privacy notices from other organisations


We have mentioned that we share your personal information with Fraud Prevention Agencies and Credit Reference Agencies. They require us to pass on to you information about how they will use your personal information to perform their services or functions as data controllers in their own right. These notices are separate to our own. Here are links to the information notice of the three main Credit Reference Agencies: Call Credit, Equifax and Experian.

 

Maintaining the quality of your personal information


It is an important to us that your personal information is up to date. We will take reasonable steps to make sure that your personal information is accurate, complete and up-to-date. If you find that the information we have is not up to date or is inaccurate, please advise us as soon as practicable so we can update our records and ensure we can continue to provide quality services to you.

 

Fraud Prevention Agencies

We work with organisations with an interest in reducing the fraud threat. For information on this, please click here.