Experian’s goal is to help consumers understand and actively engage in their credit life because it plays such an important role in building a secure financial future. Today marked another milestone in this quest.
In a positive step for consumers and the U.S. consumer credit industry, Experian (along with the other two nationwide credit bureaus Equifax and TransUnion), announced the National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP) – a program that will further enhance our ability to collect complete and accurate consumer information, and provide consumers more transparency and a better experience when interacting with credit bureaus about their credit reports.
The plan was launched after cooperative discussions and an agreement with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
First, let me touch on what we are doing at Experian specifically. I’m a firm believer that in order to fulfill our goal of being the champion for consumers, we must continuously enhance our own internal processes and adjust our business to the changing needs of consumers and the market.
I applaud the industry for coming together to form the NCAP, and in that same vein of commitment to the consumer, I plan to go even further in our efforts to deliver the highest quality data and the best consumer experience possible.
For the last few years, we have embarked on a rigorous plan and invested millions of dollars in staffing, training, education and system improvements at Experian to ensure our data is as accurate as possible, to streamline the dispute process, and to make problematic disputes easier to resolve. Let me highlight what we are doing.
We are building on our strong foundation of systems and processes to achieve even higher levels of quality.
- We have a team of more than 100 employees who are focused on receiving, loading and managing the quality of data from data furnishers.
- We maintain an inventory of more than 400 data quality rules that are applied each time data is furnished to us, so that we can ensure the data is historically consistent and logical before it is loaded into Experian’s database.
- Every month, we work proactively with data furnishers to further enhance the accuracy of the data they provide to us by pointing out any issues that they need to address; for example, data formatting issues that could result in inaccurate data being added to a consumer credit report.
Our goal is to manage our data proactively at the front end to benefit all consumers and lenders.
The accuracy, quality and integrity of our data is foundational to Experian’s business, and we are committed to further enhancing the consumer credit experience by attaining the highest level of data accuracy and quality.
98 percent is good – but not good enough. We are making further improvements in data accuracy.
Perfecting the credit ecosystem, which includes more than 10,000 data furnishers and 1.3 billion monthly credit report updates, is complicated. As an industry, we have achieved a 98 percent accuracy rate for credit reporting. While that is good, it is not good enough. We are striving for perfection, taking tangible steps and making real investments to further enhance accuracy.
We are making the dispute process easier.
As the first credit bureau to have launched a national credit education initiative, we have more than 20 years experience working with consumers to help them more effectively manage their credit.
In the last two years, we have spent considerable resources to improve engagement with consumers:
- We have upgraded our website to make it easier for consumers to dispute reports online.
- We have added a new system that enables consumers to provide dispute documentation through a secure document uploading process.
- We have added more agents, so consumers can speak to one of our representatives to ask questions.
- We have increased bilingual support for our Spanish-speaking consumers.
These investments have shown results:
- The number of disputes initiated has dropped, dramatically decreasing 42 percent since 2008.
- The time it takes to resolve disputes has been reduced in the last year, with almost 59 percent of all disputes resolved within 10 days, and an additional 19 percent resolved in 20 days. The timeframes of the disputes are much shorter than the 30-45 days allowed by federal guidelines.
But, of course, our efforts will continue to provide the best consumer experience possible.
Credit reporting enables the American way of life. Our industry helps fulfill dreams of owning a car or a home. It allows students to attend college. And it stimulates financial growth.
Our work is not without errors, but we are wholeheartedly committed to perfecting our role in the credit ecosystem – empowering consumers and the economy alike.
As I said, our goal is to be a champion for consumers. We will continue to invest in and work toward that goal. We will do more. We will do more, and as CEO of Experian North America, you have my commitment.