What is Credit Account Information Sharing?
With fast and convenient access to credit readily available, consumers can develop large debts incredibly quickly. Which is why, to make profitable and responsible lending decisions, you need the most comprehensive and up-to-date information available.
Becoming a CAIS (Credit Account Information Sharing) member is one of the surest ways of avoiding those customers who may default on their payments.
The Credit Account Information Sharing (CAIS) file holds information on over 440 million credit accounts – 32 million of which are in default. CAIS files are held on the vast majority of the active credit population with an average of five records held per applicant. Information is provided by virtually every major consumer lending organisation in the UK. Established in 1983 to provide comprehensive and timely credit information, CAIS was the first system of its kind and is now by far the largest source of information about consumers’ credit histories in the UK.
The type of information held about a particular credit account is:
• The lender, e.g. type of company (bank, retailer)
• The borrower, e.g. full name, full address
• The credit account (as appropriate)
• Type of account (loan, mortgage, etc.)
• Start and closure dates
• Default date
• Current balance outstanding
• Repayment amount and term
• Credit limit
• History of payment over the last 36 months
• Special circumstances (gone aways, deceased, etc.)
• Date of the last CAIS update.
Experian operates CAIS on behalf of its members. The members who ‘manage’ the scheme make the rules governing how CAIS operates. These two bodies are; the CAIS User Group and The Steering Committee on Reciprocity. CAIS operates under strict rules of ‘reciprocity’. Members are entitled to access information that is directly equivalent to the level of information they supply.
This information can be supplied to you in one of two forms; ‘full data’ which relates to all records and includes all information, or ‘default data’, which is just those records of accounts in default. CAIS is successful because it has the confidence and support of everyone – CAIS members, the public, the regulators and consumer organisations.
This has been achieved by applying high accuracy and security standards as a pre-requisite. Good credit decisions depend on accurate information. It is vital therefore that CAIS information is both accurate and up-to-date.
Experian operates a CAIS quality programme, which runs a number of standard checks and controls.
Areas covered include:
• Every record on every test and live data file is put through more than 60 individual quality checks
• Any member whose monthly update file is not received by the due date is contacted
• After every monthly run, members are sent an exceptions report noting all unsatisfactory records
• Twice a year every member’s file is put through a full audit by an Experian dedicated team
• Every query from a consumer or member is examined for its quality implications.
• You can identify people with and adverse credit history
• You’ll avoid lending to people who are already financially over-committed
• You can verify applicants at their address
• You’ll see any existing financial commitments
• You can make appropriate authorisation, limit management and recovery decisions
• Your fraud and bad debt costs can be greatly reduced