UK Department of Health hires TransUnion to verify those requesting home coronavirus tests


The UK Department of Health has hired the credit-checking company TransUnion to verify the names and addresses of people requesting home coronavirus tests, placing millions at risk of being barred from access to these tests. The government says the purpose is to prevent abuse of the public testing system; TransUnion says it does not run credit checks but uses various third-party sources, including electoral registers, to verify identities. The London Assembly, however, notes that up to 5.8 million people in the UK have poor credit histories or thin credit files because of social and economic disadvantage. Those who fail the checks are supposed to be able to book a test by telephone or access it in person, where a staff member can confirm their identity, but those who fail the checks are more likely to struggle using English or be unable to travel safely to drive-through testing sites without placing anyone else at risk. The British Medical Assocation warned that credit checks also disadvantage women, who in some communities have few records of economic activity, and vulnerable groups such as undocumented migrants who are anxious about the use of their data.

Writer: Bethan Staton
Publication: Financial Times