Credit bureau

Credit bureau

A credit bureau (United States), or credit reference agency (United Kingdom) is a company that collects information from various sources and provides consumer credit information on individual consumers for a variety of uses. It is an organization providing information on individuals' borrowing and bill paying habits.[1] This helps lenders assess credit worthiness, the ability to pay back a loan, and can affect the interest rate and other terms of a loan. Interest rates are not the same for everyone, but instead can be based on risk-based pricing, a form of price discrimination based on the different expected risks of different borrowers, as set out in their credit rating. Consumers with poor credit repayment histories or court adjudicated debt obligations like tax liens or bankruptcies will pay a higher annual interest rate than consumers who don't have these factors.

In the U.S., credit bureaus collect and collate personal information, financial data, and alternative data on individuals from a variety of sources called data furnishers with which the bureaus have a relationship. Data furnishers are typically creditors, lenders, utilities, debt collection agencies and the courts (i.e. public records) that a consumer has had a relationship or experience with. Data furnishers report their payment experience with the consumer to the credit bureaus. The data provided by the furnishers as well as collected by the bureaus are then aggregated into the credit bureau's data repository or files. The resulting information is made available on request to customers of the credit bureau for the purposes of credit risk assessment, credit scoring or for other purposes such as employment consideration or leasing an apartment. Given the large number of consumer borrowers, these credit scores tend to be mechanistic. To simplify the analytical process for their customers, the different credit bureaus can apply a mathematical algorithm to provide a score the customer can use to more rapidly assess the likelihood that an individual will repay a given debt given the frequency that other individuals in similar situations have defaulted. Most consumer welfare advocates advise individuals to review their credit reports at least once per year, in order to ensure that the reports are accurate.

Commercial credit reports and scoring also exist, which can be used to evaluate the likelihood of a business paying creditors. Examples of these are the Paydex score from Dun & Bradstreet, the Experian Intelliscore the CPR Score from Cortera, the National Trade Credit Report from the National Association of Credit Management (NACM), the CIC Score from SACM (Southeastern Association of Credit Management, an NACM affiliate), and the PayNet MasterScore(SM) from PayNet.



The establishment of Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (CIBIL), India's first Credit Information Bureau, is an effort made by the Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India to improve the functionality and stability of the Indian financial system by containing NPAs while improving credit grantors' portfolio quality.

CIBIL was promoted by State Bank of India (SBI), Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC), Dun & Bradstreet Information Services India Private Limited (D&B) and TransUnion International Inc. (TransUnion) to provide comprehensive credit information by collecting, collating and disseminating credit information pertaining to both commercial and consumer borrowers, to a closed user group of Members.


eCIB ECIB is a software for monitoring credit reports all across Pakistan. State Bank of Pakistan monitors the Software and all the Financial Institutions in Pakistan are required to have this software installed. A monthly process updates the reports at the State Bank end.

The membership with CIB, as per instructions of SBP, is mandatory for all Banks, Developmental Financial Institutions (DFIs) and Micro Finance Banks (MFBs) respectively. No financial institution can access the CIB database without obtaining membership of CIB of State Bank of Pakistan.

All member financial institutions are required to submit entire borrowers’ records online to CIB on monthly basis. This information is submitted within a period of fortnight from the date of close of month.

There are five privately owned and managed credit bureaus operating in Pakistan:

1. MAF Business Information Services (mafbis)
2. Datacheck (Pvt.) Limited
3. Credit Chex (Pvt.) Limited (Powered by Experian UK)
4. News-VIS Credit Information Services (Pvt.) Limited.
5. ICIL-International Credit Information Ltd./ PakBizInfo


The Electronic Credit Information Bureau (CIB) was established by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in December, 1992. The scope and activities of CIB are governed under the provisions of Banking Companies Ordinance (BCO), 1962. The Section 25(A) vests powers with SBP to call for credit information in such manner as it may deem necessary and make such information available to any banking company.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the three credit reference agencies are Experian, Equifax and Callcredit, which works closely with its US partner, TransUnion.

Most banks and other credit-granting organisations subscribe to one or more of these organisations to ensure the quality of their lending. This includes companies who sell goods or services on credit such as credit card issuers, utility companies and store card issuers. Subscribing organisations are expected to provide relevant data to maintain the common data pool.

Credit reference agencies are bound by the Data Protection Act 1998, which requires that data relating to identifiable individuals must be accurate, relevant, held for a proper purpose and not out-of-date. Individuals have a legal right to access data held on them.

The activities of Credit Reference Agencies are governed by the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

United States

In the United States, the legal term for a credit bureau under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is consumer reporting agency — often abbreviated in the industry as CRA.

In the United States, key credit bureau consumer protections and general rules or governing guidelines for both the credit bureaus and data furnishers are the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), and Regulation B.

Two government bodies share responsibility for the oversight of credit bureaus and those that furnish data to them. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has oversight for the consumer credit bureaus. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) charters, regulates, and supervises all national banks with regard to the data they furnish credit bureaus.

Most U.S. consumer credit information is collected and kept by the four national credit reporting agencies: Experian (formerly TRW Information Systems & Services and the CCN Group),[2] Equifax, TransUnion, and Innovis (which was purchased from First Data Corporation in 1999 by CBC Companies). These organizations are for-profit businesses and possess no government affiliation. Though they are competitors, they have formed a trade organization called the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) to establish reporting standards and lobby on behalf of their industry issues in Washington. Current reporting standards accepted by the four U.S. CRAs are Metro and Metro2. The Metro2 standard is defined in the annual CDIA publication, the Credit Reporting Resource Guide. Consumers are entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Consumers can go to, the Internet site maintained by the three companies, to get their free report.

There are dozens of other similar information collection and reporting firms that analyze and sell information about consumers for other purposes, including those who aggregate multiple credit data sources and provide lenders with customized analytical tools.

PRBC (Payment Reporting Builds Credit, Inc.) is a national alternative credit bureau. Incorporated in March 2002, PRBC enables consumers to self-enroll and build a positive credit file by reporting their on-time payments (such as rent, utilities, cable, and phone) that are not automatically reported to the three traditional credit bureaus.

In the U.S., there are six business or commercial bureau repositories (in alphabetical order): Cortera, Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, Equifax Small Business Financial Exchange (SBFE), PayNet, and Southeastern Association of Credit Management (SACM).

Tort liability for business defamation

In the case of Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. v. Greenmoss Builders, Inc., 472 U.S. 749 (1985) the U.S. Supreme Court held that a credit reporting agency may be liable if it was careless in reporting an impending or past bankruptcy filing of a business that is not a public figure.

List of credit reporting agencies by country

Country Major bureaus Other bureaus
 Armenia Armenian Credit Reporting Agency
 Australia Veda Advantage
 Austria KSV, Deltavista
 Bangladesh Rose Leemon Credit Reports & Collections Limited
 Belgium UPC-BVK
 Botswana Compuscan
 Bulgaria Experian Creditreturn Ltd
 Canada Equifax, TransUnion
 Denmark RKI Kredit Information A/S
 Dominican Republic Data Credito, TransUnion
 Egypt i-score
 Finland Finska
 Germany Schufa, Creditreform, Deltavista
 Greece Tiresias
 Cyprus First Cyprus Credit Bureau
 India High Mark Credit Information Services, CIBIL, CRISIL, Experian & Equifax
 Ireland Irish Credit Bureau
 Italy Experian, CRIF, CTC, BDCR Assilea
 Kenya Kutz Univar, Hornbill Credit link Ltd.
 Mexico Equifax, TransUnion, Buró de Crédito
 Morocco Experian Moroccan Credit Bureau
 Namibia Compuscan
 Netherlands creditDevice, Graydon, Dun & Bradstreet
 New Zealand Veda Advantage
 Nigeria XDS Credit Bureau, CreditRegistry, CRC Credit Bureau
 Mauritius Kutz Univar
 Pakistan CIB (State Bank of Pakistan), MAF Business Information Services (mafbis), Credit Chex (Powered by Experian UK), International Credit Information Ltd.
 Peru Equifax
 Poland BIK SA
 Portugal Credinformações
 Romania Biroul de Credit
 Rwanda Compuscan
 Kuwait Kuwait Credit Bureau (Ci-Net first credit bureau agency in the middle east)
 Saudi Arabia Saudi Credit Bureau (SIMAH)
 South Africa Compuscan[3], Experian, Kutz Univar, TransUnion,
 South Korea KCB (Korea Credit Bureau), KIS, NICE (National Information & Credit Evaluation)
 Spain Credinformações
 Sweden Soliditet AB, UC
 Switzerland Deltavista, Creditreform
 Tanzania Kutz Univar
 Turkey KKB
 Uganda Compuscan, Kutz Univar
 Ukraine UBKI
 United Kingdom Experian, Equifax, Callcredit
 United States FICO, Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, SACM, Innovis, PRBC, TeleCheck
 Zambia Kutz Univar


  1. ^ Sullivan, Arthur; Steven M. Sheffrin (2003). Economics: Principles in action. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458: Pearson Prentice Hall. pp. 512. ISBN 0-13-063085-3. 
  2. ^ Experian plc – History Retrieved on 2010-07-15
  3. ^ Compuscan, South African Credit Bureau

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