1. What is a Credit Information Company?
A Credit Information Company (CIC) is an independent organizationlicensed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that signs up banks, NBFCs and financial institutions as its members and aggregates data and identity information for individual consumers and businesses from its members. Credit reporting is very important in today's financial system and is considered a primary factor while evaluating the credit worthiness of customers and monitoring the credit circumstances of consumers and businesses. This information enables lenders to function more efficiently and at a lower cost than is otherwise possible.
2. What is the difference between a Credit Information Company and a credit bureau?
They are the same and are used interchangeably by most people.
3. Why is a credit information company important?
Credit information companies assume even more importance after credit default created havoc in the Western world, leading to the global financial crisis. Credit information companies inform banks whether a prospective borrower is creditworthy or not based on his past payment track record. The quality of information defines the ability of lenders to evaluate risk and of consumers to obtain credit at competitive rates. Credit reporting is a vital part of a country's financial infrastructure and is an activity of public interest.
4. Who are a credit information company's customers?
Credit information companies service individuals (wanting to access their own credit reports), lenders who access credit reports of their existing customers and prospective customers who are applying for new loans or credit cards and businesses who are borrowing from banks and financial institutions to keep a check on their reported credit history.
5. What information does a credit information company provide?
A credit information company provides:
To the Lender:
- A consolidated view of a consumer to a lender across all reported loans held
- The repayment history as reported by the subscribing lenders
- The identification information, address and other demographic information as reported by member institutions
- Topline indicators (derived attributes) based on the information provided by the data contributing members
To the individual/business/consumer:
- An ability for the consumer to access his credit record as seen by the lender to ensure that the information reported is accurate.
- Keeping a tab on one's credit worthiness and repayment track record.
6. Who should buy a credit report?
Every individual who is looking to borrow should ideally go in for a credit report. One should scrutinize the same for errors and keep checking his report from time to time. Ideally, one should pull out a credit report every quarter. The cost of each report will be Rs. 138 (including taxes/handling charges). This is a small price to pay for the assurance that your credit record is reflected correctly. To get yours today, click on Forms Credit Report Request
7. Where does a credit bureau collect information from?
Members of the credit bureau submit data of its borrowers on a regular basis which is aggregated by the bureau and presented to its members. The information contained in the credit report is derived from various members/sources which are not controlled by a credit bureau. A credit bureau only reproduces information that is submitted by its members.
8. Does a credit bureau give a decision on whether to lend or not?
No, a credit report is only a statement of fact as reported by the credit bureau's members. Lending decisions are taken by member institutions that access these reports and may differ from member to member.
9. If I am applying in various places for a loan will it reflect in my credit report?
Yes, if the loan enquiry is made on a credit bureau by its member, the same will reflect in the credit report.
10. Can I access Equifax's data if I am not a member of Equifax but am a member of another bureau?
No, only Equifax members are allowed to access the Equifax credit bureau.
Individuals have full access to their reports. To get yours today, click on Forms Credit Report Request
Accessing your report and correcting disputes
11. How do I correct my credit report?
In case an individual finds that his credit report is not updated, he can approach the respective financial institution or credit bureau to update the credit reports. The financial institution or credit bureau should take appropriate steps to update the credit information within 30 days after being requested to do so. The credit bureau can make changes in the individual's credit information only after such changes have been authorized by the concerned financial institution.
If the latest report reflects the changes that the individual has disputed, the credit bureau will inform the individual, mentioning that the changes are made as needed. If the changes are not made as per the individual's request, then the individual will be informed to directly contact the respective financial institution for further resolution of the query. In case it is an error by the bureau, the same will be rectified at their end. In such scenarios, the individual will be asked fill up the dispute resolution form along with supporting documents. Post internal investigation, the bureau will need to inform the customer about the status of their dispute. Please also refer to the disputes and disclosure section on these FAQs.
If a dispute needs to be reported, please refer to FormsDispute Resolution Form
12. How will I know that I have been denied credit due to my repayment history on my credit report?
Financial institutions which have denied credit to a borrower or customer on the basis of their credit information report need to intimate the customer within thirty days of making such a decision. Once the customer receives the intimation from the credit granting institution, he can ask for a copy of the credit information report which has been relied upon for the said decision. Once he has access to the credit report, he needs to check it for accuracy and in case of errors please refer to Q No. 11.
13. Some of my loans do not reflect on the credit report. Why?
This could be because either the lender from which the loan was availed is not a member of the bureau or the lender is a member however is not sharing that information about the loan with the bureau.
14. Who can access an Equifax credit report?
Equifax Members/specified users, which include leading banks and financial Institutions, can access information from our credit bureau. Membership is granted as per the CIC Act. Only those members who have provided all their data to Equifax are permitted to access credit reports. Disclosure to any other person or entity is prohibited.
In the case of individuals, only the individual can access his own credit report and usually in the application form where he is applying for credit with a lender, he would have granted permission to the lender to pull out a credit report on him.
If you are a credit granting institution within the definition of the same in theCICRA and would like to be a member, please refer to the Contact Ussection of this website and we will get back to you.
Individuals can also request access to their Credit Reports directly from Equifax. Please refer to the FormsCredit Report Requestfor the process of access.
15. How do I contact Equifax ?
16. What is the duration for which records are displayed by bureaus?
All repayment, identification and address information gets updated on a credit bureau and gets maintained for a period of 36 to 48 months.
Managing my Credit
17. How can I maintain a good credit history?
You need to be vigilant on maintaining a clean repayment history on your loans and credit cards.
Some simple steps that you can take to ensure you do not miss a payment and receive the requisite reminders and updates from your lender via SMS, Email and post:
• Set up direct debit instructions,
• Issuing postdated cheques for the monthly installment
• Updating your address and contact details with your lender
If for any reason, you have missed payments on your loans and credit cards, restarting repayment to ensure that the lender detects your ability to correct your repayment behavior is very important. This will give you a better chance to access credit again even though it may come at a higher cost. With the passage of time, corrected credit behavior may help you regain your "clean" credit status.
18. What impacts my credit history?
Inaccurate reporting of data by the institution - Your credit report should accurately reflect your credit history. There will be many instances where discrepancies can occur. Closed or reissued cards may still be reflected as ongoing for some individuals. Another may see previous loans which were settled in full, still reflecting as current loans. Every delay in monitoring and correcting one's credit history can have an adverse impact on your credit record. Needless to say, this would have a huge impact on your ability to borrow.
It is very important for borrowers to ensure that financial institutions provide accurate and updated data or information to a credit bureau. In case a financial institution does not update a borrower's credit information even after the request for the same, the borrowers may approach competent authorities like Banking Ombudsman or Consumer Forum for further relief.
Financial institutions which have denied credit to a borrower or customer on the basis of their credit information report needs to intimate them within thirty days of such a decision. They also need to forward a copy of the credit information report which has been relied upon for the said decision.
There is also an onus on the credit bureau, which, after furnishing information to a financial institution or borrower, discovers that there is an error or discrepancy on its own. The credit bureau has to intimate the financial institution or individual latest by the seventh day of finding the inaccuracy, error or discrepancy and take immediate steps to correct the same. Such corrected information should be forwarded to the concerned financial institution or individual within 30 days. If it is not possible to furnish the correct information, the reason for the same and steps taken for correcting the information need to be informed to the financial institution or individual.