Credit Bureaus in India: Everything you need to know


Agencies collecting individual credit information data from debt collection agencies, creditors, debtors, and data providers are called credit bureaus. These credit bureaus sell this data to lenders, consumers, and creditors as credit reports. Credit bureaus give credit scores and are essential to understand how capable someone is of paying back the credit. 

What Are Credit Bureaus? 

Credit bureaus are also called credit reporting agencies and are organizations that research and collect individual credit information before selling it to creditors in return for a fee. The creditors use this information to make informed decisions about granting loans or extending credits. Credit bureaus assign credit scores by assembling the credit history of an individual. Credit scores are strong determiners of predicting whether an individual will qualify to get credit and under what terms. You must understand that credit bureaus are not the deciders of whether you get credit or not. Credit bureaus collect and pass on the credit report to lenders. 

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Working of Credit Bureaus

Lending institutions and creditors partner with credit bureaus to make informed lending decisions. There are four major credit bureaus in India. These are:

  • CRIF Highmark
  • TransUnion CIBIL
  • Equifax
  • Experian. 

The primary purpose of a credit bureau is to provide accurate credit information to credit institutions or lenders that will help them make informed decisions regarding lending. It is not a credit bureau‘s job to decide whether an individual will receive credit. A credit bureau‘s job is to collect and provide information regarding lending and credit. A credit bureau’s clients include personal finance lending companies, mortgage lenders, credit card issuers, banks, etc. 

Individuals can also contact credit bureaus and ask for their credit scores or reports. 

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Top Indian Credit Bureaus 

CRIF Highmark

CRIF Highmark has its headquarters in Mumbai. The credit bureau claims to be our country’s first credit bureau providing full service. It offers credit information comprehensively for retail consumers, commercial and microfinance borrowers, MSMEs, and all other lending institutions in India. 

It provides credit scores, credit reports, insights, analytics, data management, and related software solutions to Telecom service providers, Housing Finance Companies, Insurance Companies, MFIs, NBFCs, banks, etc. 

TransUnion CIBIL

TransUnion CIBIL is India’s most popular and first credit bureau, founded in 2000. It collects and maintains more than 1000 million individuals and commercial entities’ credit information. It has three divisions: 

  1. Micro Finance Institution Bureau
  2. Consumer Bureau
  3. Commercial Bureau

It collects credit information through its three bureaus. It generates Credit Reports (CIR) and CIBIL scores. It also has CIBIL Commercial Reports and CIBIL Ranks. It includes all major NBFCs, financial institutions, housing finance companies, and banks. 

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Equifax was registered in 2010 as a Credit Information Company and is headquartered in Mumbai. The credit bureau is a joint venture between the leading seven financial Indian institutions and Equifax Inc. USA. It collects credit information of commercial entities and individuals and presents it as credit scores and CIRs (credit information reports). A separate department takes care of regulatory and lending for Microfinance Institutions. 


Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act (CICRA) 2005 gave Experian the first credit bureau license. It has its credit scores and reports to provide its clients. It also provides analytical tools and marketing services to commercial entities and individuals. 

What are the Similarities between these Four Credit Bureaus? 

  1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has licensed all these credit bureaus.
  2. All the credit bureaus have their algorithm for calculating reports and credit scores
  3. Different credit bureaus can have different credit scores, but both will be valid. 
  4. NBFCs and Banks send credit information to credit bureaus regularly. 
  5. While the algorithm is different for every credit bureau, they generally use these five components: credit inquiries, credit age, repayment history, and type of credit. 

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Q1. Which is the first credit bureau in India? 

A1. TransUnion CIBIL is India’s most popular and first credit bureau, founded in 2000. 

Q2. What components do credit bureaus use to calculate credit scores and reports? 

A2. Each credit bureau has its algorithm. However, some similar components are credit inquiries, credit age, repayment history, and type of credit. 

Q3. Which entity licenses the credit bureaus

A3. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) licenses all credit bureaus.

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