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Credit bureaus are companies collecting and maintaining credit information of individuals and businesses. They gather data from various sources, such as lenders, creditors, and public records, and create credit bureau reports based on your credit history.

 

This includes your payment history, outstanding debts, and public records. Lenders and creditors use these credit reports to assess your creditworthiness when extending credit, such as a personal loan.

The Top 5 Credit Bureaus in India

Here are some essential facts about the top five credit bureaus in India:

  • TransUnion CIBIL

  • CRIF High Mark

  • Experian

  • Equifax

  • CRISIL

1. TransUnion Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited or CIBIL

TransUnion CIBIL was established in 2000 and is one of India's most popular credit bureaus. The CIBIL bureau manages the credit record of more than 32 million companies and around 600 million individuals. 

 

CIBIL credit bureau was established by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It later merged with the Chicago-based organisation TransUnion International and was renamed TransUnion CIBIL.

 

You can check your CIBIL score conveniently using the online portal of TransUnion CIBIL. The credit score range varies between 300 to 900. However, a score above 700 is generally considered a good score.

 

The major factors impacting your overall credit score include the following:

  • Credit utilisation pattern

  • Credit repayment history

  • Credit inquiries made over a certain period

 

If you possess a healthy credit mix and flawless debt repayment history, your CIBIL score can be higher. Additionally, you can perform CIBIL score calculation for free and check your score on the CIBIL website.

2. CRIF High Mark

CRIF High Mark was founded in 2007 and was awarded the licence in 2010. The unique factor of CRIF High Mark is that it is the first credit bureau covering credit details for all MSME, microfinance and commercial borrowers alongside retail consumers. 

 

CRIF credit bureau assigns credit ratings for both corporates as well as individuals. The credit score rating given by this credit bureau falls in the range of 300 to 900.

3. Experian

Established in 2006, Experian is known as one of the first credit bureaus in India to be assigned a licence under the Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act 2005. Like CIBIL, Experian gives credit scores ranging from 300 to 900. 

 

An Experian credit report generally carries statistics concerning the loan type, date of loan disbursement, repayment history, outstanding balance, and payment defaults. Experian also offers marketing services and analytical tools to its corporate customers and individuals, which supports them in making well-informed credit decisions.

4. Equifax

The Equifax credit bureau was initially a credit-giving company when it started in 1899; in 2010, it became a licenced agency conducting credit ratings. The credit score rating given by Equifax generally varies from 300 to 850. 

 

Equifax also assigns portfolio scores and risk scores along with credit scores for individuals. In addition, companies or corporate customers also generate risk management reports, credit fraud reports, industry diagnoses, and other portfolio management reports they may require as per their specific needs.

5. CRISIL

CRISIL stands for Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited. CRISIL is a well-known global analytics business providing services in the financial markets, which in turn helps them to function efficiently in the most transparent manner. 

 

It functions on the principle of swift and innovative functions. CRISIL credit bureau also assists in the field of data research along with providing credit ratings. As a credit rating agency, CRISIL also provides the required assistance to financial services, consulting businesses, commercial and investment banks, and insurance companies through its analytical expertise.

 

Other credit bureaus in India include ICRA Limited, Credit Analysis and Research Limited (CARE), Brickwork Ratings (BWR), and India Rating and Research Private Limited. However, the credit bureaus discussed above are among the top credit bureaus in India.

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How do Credit Bureaus Work?

Credit bureaus collaborate with different lending institutions and credit providers to support them in making the right decisions related to loan approval. The primary objective of credit bureaus is to ensure that credit providers have necessary details before approving loans to individuals and corporations. 

 

Generally, the clients for the credit bureau agencies consist of credit card issuers, banks, mortgage lenders, and other firms which deal in personal finance and lending sectors.

 

Credit bureaus have no say in deciding the credit grants to individuals or corporates. Instead, they focus on collecting and generating statistics and other information related to the credit score of individuals or organisations and extend that information to the lenders, who in turn, make the decision.

How Credit Bureaus Collect Information About You

Credit bureaus collect information on individuals and businesses from various sources, including creditors, lenders, public records, collection agencies, utility companies, landlords, and consumer inquiries made by lenders.

 

This information is used to create credit reports that lenders and creditors use to assess your creditworthiness. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates credit bureaus and provides consumers with certain rights regarding their credit information.

Credit Bureau Regulations

The Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act, 2005 is legislation passed by the Government of India to regulate the functions of credit information companies operating in India.

 

This act also supports the efficient distribution of credit to responsible borrowers and helps lenders make decisions regarding all credit disbursement matters.

 

Credit information generated by the credit bureaus and other credit information companies can be shared with the specific parties for utilisation with regards to the following main functions: -

  • To make credit decisions highly effective

  • To find out the concurrent borrowers and loan defaulters

  • To support in maintaining the minimum levels of adverse selection of customers

  • To carry out the risk analysis of the customers

  • To help maintain the statutory and regulatory functions in the credit sector

  • To enable individual consumers to know about their credit information

Do You Need All 5 Scores?

There is no definite answer as to which credit score matters most to the lending agency for deciding loan approvals. Also, whether all five credit scores are required, or the lenders prefer some specific ones cannot be clearly demarcated. 

 

Generally, lenders have their favourite scores on which they rely for the decisions related to loan approvals. Lenders most commonly check your CIBIL score before approving loans.

Difference Between Credit Rating Agencies and Credit Bureaus

Indian Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs) calculate the safety factors or risks in the investment options provided by the companies, while credit bureaus, also known as credit information bureaus, generate credit scores and reports concerning the borrowers in the country. 

 

Credit bureaus are involved in evaluating the borrowers' creditworthiness and debt repayment worthiness which supports the lenders in assessing the risks better. Although credit rating agencies and credit bureaus generate financial information for individuals and organisations, the type and details of the information generated vary. 

 

Furthermore, the entities described by those statistics and the agencies using this information are from varied sectors. Hence, if you want to check your CIBIL/credit score, you can access the same at Bajaj Markets.

FAQs on Credit Bureaus

What is the main function of a credit bureau?

A credit bureau collects repayment details related to a borrower periodically from various lending institutions within the country. Based on the information, it generates a credit report and assigns a suitable credit score.

Are the names of all customers reported to CIBIL or other credit bureaus?

No, if you have applied for a loan or credit card from any financial institution registered with a bureau, your name is reported to a credit bureau. Note that your FD, RD or savings account details are not shared with CIBIL or any other bureau.

Can a credit bureau change or delete my credit report records?

No, a bureau can only collect your credit information from various lending institutions but cannot change your existing details.

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