There are three major global credit bureaus. Namely TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Other than these Crif is another major credit bureau that has its presence in four continents. All these four bureaus are today present in India, either exclusively or through an Indian bureau. The history of bureaus in India can be dated back to 2002 with its first bureau getting established. Till 2005 the bureau was not very effective. It was only in 2005 when the parliament passed the Credit Information Companies Act that mandated all lending institutions to share the information on all their asset customers with the bureaus approved by the Reserve Bank of India.
Credit Information Bureau of India Ltd, popularly known as CIBIL is that first bureau that was established in India. Today it is called TransUnion CIBIL. TransUnion was established in 1968 in the United States and acquired the Credit Bureau of Cook County (CBCC) in 1969 that used to manually maintain the credit records of over 3.6 million customers. From there it has been a long journey where the automation of extending data helped the financial institutions to take a more informed and speedy decision on lending requests.
The CIBIL report has the score range of 300 – 900 and a score of 750 and above is deemed to be a good credit score.
Headquartered in Georgia, United States, while Equifax came into existence in 1979, its history dates back to 1898 when a Tennessee grocery store created a list of all customers that were considered to be credit worthy. This list was shared with other stores and thus came into existence the credit list. Over years this line of business grew to multiple states. With the advent of technology, automation happened and the business changed to evaluation and forecast on the customer behavior.
Equifax started to offer score range that was different from CIBIL but as per the notification from the Reserve Bank of India, the score had to be aligned to the approved range of 300 – 900.
Highmark that got established as the first indigenous credit bureau in India in 2007. It got its full bureau license in 2011. Crif, one of the leading bureaus with its headquartered in Italy acquired major stake in High Mark in 2014 and thus the bureau got renamed as Crif Highmark. Crif Highmark has been the first bureau in India to extend Microfinance credit reports.
The score range for Highmark has been 300 – 900.
Founded in 1996, headquartered in Dublin Ireland, Experian has quickly grown into a multinational operation as a consume credit reporting agency. The company was established in the United States in 1968 and was known as TRW Information Systems and Services Inc. TRW got sold off as Experian in 1996 and thus came into existence.
Experian also initially offered a different score range but adopted the range of 300 – 900 as directed by the RBI.