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Press Release 28 November 2022

Credit Reference Platform Begins Operation  Three Credit Reference Agencies Officially Selected
Improves data protection and promotes competition

(Hong Kong, 28th November 2022) -- The Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB), The DTC Association (The Hong Kong Association of Restricted Licence Banks and Deposit-taking Companies), and the Hong Kong S.A.R. Licensed Money Lenders Association Limited (collectively, "Industry Associations") are pleased to announce that the Credit Reference Platform (CRP) has completed system testing and officially commenced operation on 28th November 2022. The three credit reference agencies (CRAs) shortlisted under the Multiple Credit Reference Agencies (MCRA) Model are Nova Credit Limited, PingAn OneConnect Credit Reference Services Agency (HK) Limited and TransUnion Credit Information Services Limited.

All-new Credit Reference Platform harnesses innovative technology to ensure data security

Under the MCRA Model, all credit providers are required to connect to the "Credit Reference Platform" (CRP). The CRP is a financial infrastructure to facilitate the transmission of consumer credit information in encrypted form between the participating credit providers (such as banks and money lenders) and the CRAs using the latest technologies (i.e. distributed ledger technology, big data architecture and API). The centralized database of the CRP is stored in Hong Kong. The Selected CRAs are not allowed to transfer the consumer credit data outside Hong Kong for storage and processing.

The MCRA Model has been widely adopted globally. The introduction of MCRA in Hong Kong not only promotes competition, but also enhances the governance of consumer credit reference service providers and the protection of consumer credit data. Also, it encourages credit providers and CRAs to exchange credit data on a common and reliable platform, thereby strengthening industry efficiency and service agility in the long run.

Three Credit Reference Agencies officially selected

Nova Credit Limited, PingAn OneConnect Credit References Services Agency (HK) Limited and TransUnion Credit Information Services Limited have completed in-depth and comprehensive system testing and obtained an assessment report conducted by an independent third-party consultant confirming that they meet the rigorous requirements for information security, system administration and data management etc. The Industry Associations have entered into a service agreement with each Selected CRA, which sets out a framework for the Selected CRA to perform its services and the standard service level.

HKAB said, "By introducing the MCRA Model, the Industry Associations aim to provide a safer and more secure consumer credit data service to the market, as well as promote a level-playing field and facilitate the development of fintech in Hong Kong. We place great importance to the use and protection of personal data and have set up a dedicated working group to enhance consumer protection and monitor the credit reference agencies. We believe that the launch of the MCRA model will be a major milestone in the development of consumer credit data services in Hong Kong."

Industrial Associations as MCRA Model gatekeeper to safeguard consumer data

Garnered support from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the introduction of the MCRA Model aims to promote competition in the consumer credit reference industry to enhance the service quality of CRAs, and to reduce the operational risk of having only one CRA in the market, particularly the risk of single point of failure.

For consumers, the MCRA Model will enhance the governance of data access and use by the Selected CRAs with a more stringent data security code. The Code of Practice for the MCRA Model set out the standards and requirements for the Selected CRAs and Subscribed Members to comply on various aspects including corporate governance, internal control, use and protection of consumer credit data. The Code of Practice for the MCRA Model is endorsed by the HKMA and enforced by the MCRA User Group. All consumer credit data is encrypted before being transmitted through or stored in the CRP in accordance with international encryption standard.


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