How Top Credit Information Companies (CICs) Work ?

byPriyanka JuyalLast Updated: December 28, 2023
Top Credit Information Companies - CICs

Credit Information Companies, also called credit bureaus, are organizations that collect, analyze, and maintain credit data on borrowers, businesses, and organizations. They are licensed by the Reserve Bank of India. In this blog, we will examine the top four credit bureaus in India and how much credit data they handle regularly. Before we do that, let’s examine how credit bureaus operate.

Top 4 Credit Information Companies

The top four credit information companies in India are:

  1. Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (CIBIL)
  2. Equifax
  3. Experian
  4. CRIF Highmark

CIBIL is the oldest and most well-known credit information company in India. It maintains a database of credit information for individuals and businesses and provides credit scores and reports to banks, financial institutions, and other organizations. Equifax, Experian, and High Mark are also major players in the credit information industry in India, offering similar services to CIBIL.

TransUnion CIBIL

Year of Establishment- 2000

Headquarters- Maharashtra (India)

TransUnion CIBIL is a credit bureau based in India that was established in 2000. It is a subsidiary of TransUnion, a global financial services company headquartered in the United States. TransUnion CIBIL is a leading provider of credit scores and credit reports in India, serving over 600 million individuals and 32 million businesses. Its services are used by individuals, banks, and other financial institutions to assess creditworthiness and risk when considering loans or other forms of credit. TransUnion CIBIL’s credit scores and reports are based on an individual’s credit history, including information about their borrowing and repayment activities.


Year of Establishment- 1996

Headquarters- Dublin, Ireland

Experian is a credit bureau in India that works closely with over 2900 financial institutions, including banks and non-banking financial institutions, to maintain credit data. In 2010, it was one of the first credit bureaus to receive a license under the Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act (CICRA) 2005. Experian has been recognized for its innovation, being named one of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies” by Forbes magazine in 2014. In addition to providing credit reports and scores to individuals and businesses, Experian also offers credit information, analytical tools, and marketing services.


Year of Establishment- 1899 (as Retail Credit Company)

Headquarters- Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Equifax is a credit bureau that has been operating in India since 2010, when it received a license from the Reserve Bank of India. In India, Equifax operates under the name Equifax Credit Information Services Private Limited (ECIS) and Equifax Analytics Pvt Ltd. It provides a range of credit-related services in accordance with the Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act and its associated rules and regulations.

In 2011, ECIS launched a microfinance bureau in India with the aim of collecting data from microfinance lenders and promoting the concept of microfinance loans in the country.

CRIF Highmark

Year of Establishment- 2005

Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra (India)

CRIF Highmark Credit Information Services is a credit bureau in India that was approved by the Reserve Bank of India and began operations in 2005. As of July 2018, the bureau was managing a database of more than 120 crore credit borrowers, and in October 2018, it expanded its coverage to include approximately 38 crore unique borrowers.

CRIF Highmark provides credit information, credit scores, analytics, and software to over 4,000 credit institutions, including insurance companies and cooperative banks. It also manages credit information for individuals and businesses, including credit repayment history, credit default, and fraudulent activity. The bureau works with credit rating agencies, SEBI-registered brokers, and telecom service providers.

How do Credit Bureaus in India Work?

Credit bureaus in India are organizations that collect and maintain credit-related information on individuals and businesses. There are several credit bureaus operating in India, including CIBIL (Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited), Equifax, and Experian. These bureaus collect credit information from a variety of sources, including lenders, banks, and financial institutions. This information is used to create a detailed credit report for each borrower, which includes information about their credit repayment history, late payments, rejected loan or credit applications, credit utilization ratio, and number of hard inquiries, among other factors.

The credit bureau then uses this credit report to calculate the borrower’s credit score, which is a numerical representation of their creditworthiness. The credit score is used by lenders to evaluate a borrower’s risk level and make decisions about whether to approve or reject loan or credit applications.

In addition to calculating credit scores, credit bureaus in India may also provide credit-related services to consumers, such as credit counseling or identity theft protection. They may also provide credit-related information to businesses, such as credit reports or credit scores for use in making business decisions.

Credit bureaus in India are regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The RBI has established guidelines for the operation of credit bureaus, including the types of information that can be included in credit reports and the ways in which this information can be used.

As credit reports contain sensitive, financial, and personal information about borrowers, credit bureaus are not allowed to release them to unauthorized individuals or organizations upon request. Instead, credit reports can only be provided to the following people or authorities upon request:

  • Borrower’s employer
  • Borrower’s landlords
  • Utility service providers
  • Government of India
  • Lenders, banks, financial institutions
  • Any third party (only after the written request from the borrower)
Can a credit bureau fluctuate my credit score?
Credit bureaus do not have the ability to directly affect a borrower’s credit score. They simply collect and report information about a borrower’s credit history and activity. The credit score is then calculated based on this information using a mathematical algorithm.
Is it true that lenders always prefer good credit scores?
Lenders tend to favor approving loans for applicants who have a high credit score, as it indicates that the applicant has a history of responsibly managing their credit and making timely payments.
Should I apply for a loan despite my low credit score?
If you have a low credit score, it may be more difficult for you to get approved for a loan. Some lenders may still consider loan applications from individuals with poor credit, but they may ask for a higher interest rate or collateral as compensation for the increased risk. It is worth noting that getting approved for a loan with a low credit score may be more difficult, but it is not necessarily impossible.

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