Top Credit Bureaus in India – All You Need to Know
We often talk a lot about credit bureaus. We know what they do – give out our credit scores. But do you know what the top credit bureaus in India are? And how do they compare with each other? Let’s take a closer look.
What are credit bureaus?
Credit bureaus are agencies that collect from various data providers, including debtors, creditors, debt collection agencies, etc. and maintain individual credit information. The credit bureaus then sells it to creditors, lenders, and consumers in the form of a credit report.
How do credit bureaus work?
Credit bureaus partner with creditors and lending institutions to help them make lending decisions. The 4 major credit bureaus in India are Experian, Equifax, TransUnion CIBIL, and CRIF Highmark.
The fundamental purpose of credit bureaus is to ensure that creditors have accurate credit information of the potential borrower they help them make lending decisions. That said, the credit bureaus are not responsible for deciding whether the individual deserves credit or not; they just collect and synthesize credit information of the individual and provide it to the lenders. Their typical clients include banks, credit card issuers, mortgage lenders, and other personal finance lending companies. Consumers are also customers of credit bureaus as they can also receive their credit information from them.
Top credit bureaus of India
Experian is the first credit bureau to earn a license under the new Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act (CICRA) 2005. Experian India provides its own credit report and credit score. Also, it provides marketing services and analytical tools to individuals and commercial enterprises to make informed credit decisions.
TransUnion CIBIL, founded in 2000, is India’s first and most popular credit bureau. The credit bureau collects and maintains credit information of more than a 1000 million individuals and commercial entities. This credit information is collected from its 3 divisions Commercial Bureau, Consumer Bureau, and Micro Finance Institution Bureau. TransUnion CIBIL generates Credit Information Reports (CIR) and CIBIL Scores for individuals. It also generates CIBIL Ranks and CIBIL Commercial Reports for commercial enterprises. CIBIL members include all major banks, housing finance companies, financial institutions, and NBFCs.
CRIF Highmark is headquartered in Mumbai. It claims to be India’s first full-service credit bureau, offering comprehensive credit information for all lending segments in India, including MSME, commercial and microfinance borrowers, and retail consumers. Apart from providing credit reports and credit scores, Highmark also offers data management, insights, analytics, and related software solutions to banks, NBFCs, MFIs, Insurance Companies, Housing Finance Companies, Telecom service providers, etc.
Registered as a Credit Information Company in India since 2010, Equifax has its headquarters in Mumbai. It is a joint venture between Equifax Inc., USA and seven leading financial institutions in India. The credit bureau collates credit information of individuals and commercial entities and presents it through CIRs and credit scores. It has a separate department that caters to the lending and regulatory needs of Microfinance Institutions.
Similarities between the four credit bureaus
- All are licensed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
- Each credit bureau has its unique algorithm to calculate the credit score.
- Credit scores from two credit bureaus can be different, however, they will be accepted as valid.
- Banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) regularly send credit information to all the credit bureaus.
- Even though the algorithm to calculate credit score is different for different credit bureaus, they generally consider five components while calculating the credit score. They include type of credit, repayment history, credit exposure, age of credit, and credit inquiries.