"Experian is a remarkable success story about a business built on innovation, global enterprise, and above all, the endeavours and hard work of some amazing people." – Sir John Peace
Unlocking the power of data has enabled us to find innovative ways to grow and shape our business, and our industry, since day one.
A new industry is born
Our story starts in 1803, when a group of London tailors needed an inventive way to avoid doing business with bad debtors and began swapping information on customers who failed to pay their debts. The ability to make better and more informed decisions enabled the tailors to improve their own personal fortunes. Crucially, it also paved the way for the world’s first data agencies and a global network of information.
With more and more business owners eager to make better business decisions, the idea grew into the Society of Guardians for the Protection of Tradesmen against Swindlers, Sharpers and other Fraudulent Persons. With innkeepers, drapers, hatters, chandlers and more among its members, it aimed to protect business owners from anyone who failed to pay their debts. Gossip and hearsay was separated from fact by dedicated data accuracy officers, before the first credit agencies emerged in the 1850s. It’s from these early credit agencies that Experian’s story really begins.
Our roots date back to the early 19th Century
Jim Chilton becomes a key figure in the creation of Experian when he joins his uncle’s law firm in Dallas, Texas, in 1897. He begins to list both good and bad credit risks and persuades merchants to pool credit information. Later the Chilton business becomes part of Experian.
Abraham Rose plays a key part in the creation of Experian when he founds Universal Stores in Manchester in 1900. Later known as Great Universal Stores (GUS), it becomes one of the UK’s largest home mail order companies and its vast stores of data give birth to Experian’s UK operations.
Later, in 1957, Simon Ramo and Dean Wooldridge, two of the world’s most famous aerospace engineers, appear on the cover of TIME magazine and in 1961, Simon Ramo predicts the ‘cashless society’. They later form TRW, a partnership with Thompson Products.
A consortium of Brazilian banks forms Serasa in 1968. Like its American and British counterparts, Serasa undergoes waves of technical advancement, installing its first computer in 1981 and linking its database to the banks by 1989.
In 1985, a strategy is started to use analytical skills to develop new targeted marketing products. New products are launched just as the boom in direct marketing gets under way.
TRW dips its toe into the direct-to-consumer market, launching a service called Credentials in 1986. However, the concept was ahead of its time and it would require the development of the internet to establish the consumer as a customer.
Experian, as we know it today, was formed when the UK and US businesses combined under the ownership of GUS in 1996 to form the world’s leading information services company. Our aim? To transform lives to create a better tomorrow, by helping people make better decisions today. We’re still transforming lives today and every chapter in our story is as remarkable as the next. With offices in 37 countries and 17,000 employees worldwide, our story is inspirational and life-changing, both for our customers and our employees.
From one small idea, we’ve grown into a global leader in gathering and analysing data, marketing and customer service, helping millions of businesses and consumers around the world manage risk and reward in order to make better financial decisions.
The story doesn’t end there. Our vision is continually evolving. We need sharp minds, creative thinkers and effective networkers to play a key role in the next chapter of the Experian story and we think the next remarkable chapter in the Experian story could include you.
Let’s create a better tomorrow together.