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Great Expectations: Meeting consumer demands for perfect data

More and more consumers are recognising the value in understanding and managing their credit report. In fact, Experian’s credit monitoring services have helped over 8 million people access their Experian credit report and manage their Experian credit score over time.

These consumers know that a good credit rating is likely to result in being offered better deals on credit cards, loans and mortgages, saving them money in the long term.

As consumers take more control of their credit rating, they require help and support in understanding the information that appears on their credit report and querying anything they don’t understand or believe is incorrect. That is a key role that we, as a CRA, fulfil for consumers.

Consumer Queries

Many of the concerns raised by consumers about credit data can be easily addressed as they relate to misunderstandings about how information is registered on credit reports and how quickly it is updated. Over two thirds* of consumer queries are normally resolved without the need for any data amendments – which is reassuring for the consumer and reflects positively on the quality of most of the data received from lenders.

However, about 30% of consumer queries result in a data amendment and supporting these queries takes significant time and resource from both lenders and Experian and too often this does not deliver a great consumer experience.

In order to improve this, we are investing to:
• Ensure that consumers are better informed about how credit referencing and credit scoring works – both before and after applying for credit
• Improve the handling time of consumer queries
• Enhance the quality of credit data loaded into the Experian credit bureau

We firmly believe that more can be done to help consumers in these areas – both by lenders and by the credit reference industry as a whole.

Enhancing credit data quality

To encourage high standards of credit data quality, Experian produces detailed audit reports for every CAIS member, highlighting any data inaccuracies in their portfolios.

We use market-leading tools and data quality systems that enable us to pinpoint issues with consumer credit data, such as:
• Dates of birth or account open dates set to default values
• Consumer accounts belonging to businesses
• Accounts with a foreign address
• Fictitious test accounts which can distort portfolio statistics

These audit reports, when reviewed and acted upon by lenders, help improve the quality of data being recorded on consumers’ credit reports. In turn, this helps us to manage the consumer experience, cost of servicing and reputational considerations that are directly related to data quality.

Experian is continually looking to enhance data quality techniques and procedures to ensure that consumer credit data is of the highest quality. By working in partnership with lenders we can deliver improvements that will benefit consumers and lenders alike.

Here to help

Experian has a team of data quality consultants who work with clients to evaluate and improve credit data quality. To find out more about how Experian can help, please email consumerinformation@uk.experian.com.

* This refers to the proportion of client responses to consumer queries about credit bureau data during 2014 that were classified as ‘Remain on File’ (no amendment required).

This article is about: consumer data, data management, data quality