Credit Information Companies (CICs) or Credit Bureaus are the independent organizations that collects, analyses and maintains consumer credit information across the nation. The Credit Information Companies generate and calculate credit scores for the individuals and credit ranks for businesses, as per the consumers and business credit data provided to them by the member Banks, NBFCs and other financial institutions.
In India, there are four operating CICs or credit bureaus named as TransUnion CIBIL, Equifax, Experian and CRIF High Mark, which generate Credit Information Report (CIR) for the individuals and Credit Company Report (CCR) for the companies, enterprises and organizations.
It is important to remain aware of your credit score and to do that you can check your credit score for free, download credit report, and receive monthly updates from several fintech portals that offer free credit score in collaboration with credit bureaus.
TransUnion CIBIL is the nation’s leading credit bureau that calculates and generates CIBIL scores for individuals and CIBIL ranks for the companies, enterprises and organizations.
However, below we have detailed some information about each of the credit information companies that operate in India.
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Leading Credit Information Companies of India
TransUnion CIBIL Limited (Formerly known as Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited) is the leading Credit Information Company (CIC) that collects and maintains credit information of the consumers. Also known as credit bureau, it monitors and tracks credit history of the individuals and enterprises. It generates and calculates the CIBIL score as per the credit information provided to CIBIL by lender banks and financial institutions. CIBIL score is a measure that depicts the customer’s creditworthiness and past credit behaviour that helps in availing credit in form of loans and credit cards.
Experian India is one of the leading credit reporting company that collects and aggregates the consumer and business information across the nation. The credit information company collects, prepares and generates credit score of individuals and credit rank for the companies, as per the data provided to them by the banks and NBFCs. Each credit bureau uses its different algorithm to generate credit scores, so it may vary as per each credit bureau. The credit reports generated by Experian are majorly used by businesses, including banks, automotive dealers, healthcare providers, retailers, etc.
Equifax India is a wholly owned subsidiary of Equifax Inc. and is considered as one of the trusted Credit Information Companies globally. The credit score range generated by the other three credit bureaus is 300-900, whereas Equifax credit score range is from 300-850. There are various factors considered while calculating your credit score, such as payment history, length of credit history, numbers of recent credit inquiries, credit accounts under your name, credit utilization, credit mix, etc.
CRIF High Mark
CRIF High Mark is one of the four leading Credit Information Companies in India that creates credit reports and generates credit scores for individuals and companies. This credit bureau is an RBI-approved company like the other three CICs. CRIF High Mark serves various sectors, such as commercial and microfinance, agriculture, rural, retail, etc.
Role of Credit Information Companies in the Lending Process
As per the credit scores generated by these four credit bureaus, lenders evaluate the creditworthiness of an individual that further helps them in the loan approval process. Good credit score enhances an individual’s negotiation power and considered as an important credit report component in availing loans at competitive interest rates. Still, there are many people in our country with no credit history or they are new to credit, as per the data provided by the banks. Therefore, by availing credit cards they can start building their credit score and later avail credit facilities at ease.
Remember, checking your credit score makes no impact on your credit score, as it is considered as a ‘Soft Inquiry’ by the credit bureau. Nevertheless, if you apply for a fresh credit with any bank or NBFC, they will request for your credit report from the credit bureau making it a ‘Hard Inquiry’ that shall directly affect your credit score by lowering it further. Hence, to avail credit products like loans or credit cards, it is highly recommended to maintain good CIBIL score (750+) and as close to 900. Periodically check your credit report for errors to resolve them at the earliest by filling an online consumer dispute form at the official website of the Credit Information Company.
Note: As per the RBI, all the four Credit Bureaus are directed to provide free credit report at least once per year to individuals. However, any further report will be charged monthly, half-yearly or annually by the credit bureau as per their own applicable rates and charges.