Experian (Ofer Abarbanel online library)

Experian plc is an Irish-domiciled multinational consumer credit reporting company. Experian collects and aggregates information on over one billion people and businesses including 235 million individual U.S. consumers and more than 25 million U.S. businesses.[4][5]

Based in Dublin, Ireland, the company operates in 37 countries with offices in Brazil, the United Kingdom, the United States. The company employs approximately 17,000 people and reported revenue for 2018 of US$4.6 billion.[6] It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. Experian is a partner in the U.K. government’s Verify ID system and USPS Address Validation. It is one of the “Big Three” credit-reporting agencies, alongside TransUnion and Equifax.[7]

In addition to its credit services, Experian also sells decision analytic and marketing assistance to businesses, including individual fingerprinting and targeting.[8] Its consumer services include online access to credit history and products meant to protect from fraud and identity theft.[9] Like all credit reporting agencies, the company is required by U.S. law to provide consumers with one free credit report every year.[10]


The company was established in the United States as TRW Information Systems and Services Inc., a subsidiary of TRW Inc., when it acquired Credit Data in 1968.[11] In November 1996, TRW sold the unit, as Experian, to Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.[12] Just one month later, the two firms sold Experian to The Great Universal Stores Limited in Manchester, England, a retail conglomerate with millions of customers paying for goods on credit (later renamed GUS).[13]

The Great Universal Stores Limited had employed John Peace, a computer programmer, to combine mail order data from various of its subsidiaries and businesses to create a central database. This database was later added electoral roll data as well as county court judgements. In 1971, the original computerized software was created at Midland Household Stores (MHS), part of the retail sector of GUS. GUS’s database was designed by John Edwards and programmed by Richard Brown. In 1980, the software was commercialized under the name Commercial Credit Nottingham (CCN).[citation needed] In 1996, The Great Universal Stores Limited acquired Experian.[14]

During the next ten years, Experian expanded beyond financial services, and entered new markets such as Latin America, Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe.[citation needed] In October 2006, Experian was demerged from the British company GUS and listed on the London Stock Exchange.[15][16]

In August 2005, Experian accepted a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over charges that Experian had violated a previous settlement with the FTC. The FTC alleged that ads for the “free credit report” did not adequately disclose that Experian customers would automatically be enrolled in Experian’s $79.95 credit-monitoring program.[17][18]

In January 2008, Experian announced that it would cut more than 200 jobs at its Nottingham office.[19]

Experian shut down its Canadian operations on 14 April 2009.[20]

In March 2017, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined Experian $3 million for providing invalid credit scores to consumers.[21]

In May 2018, Experian and Mitek formed a partnership to add identity document verification and biometric facial matching to its digital identity verification software.[22]


In the United States, like the other major credit reporting bureaus, Experian is chiefly regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, signed into law in 2003, amended the FCRA to require the credit reporting companies to provide consumers with one free copy of their credit report per 12-month period. Like its main competitors, TransUnion and Equifax, Experian markets credit reports directly to consumers. Experian heavily markets its for-profit credit reporting service, FreeCreditReport.com, and all three agencies have been criticised and even sued for selling credit reports that can be obtained at no cost.[23][24]

Its market segmentation tool, Mosaic, is used by political parties to identify groups of voters. In the British version there are 15 main groups, broken down into 89 hyperspecific categories, from “corporate chieftains” to “golden empty-nesters” which can be taken down to the level of individual postcodes. It was first used by the Labour Party, but then taken up by the Conservatives in the 2015 General Election campaign.[25]

Sales to identity thieves

In 2013 a Vietnamese national, Hieu Minh Ngo,[26] was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with attempting to sell personally identifiable information on hundreds of thousands of U.S. residents. This information had been allegedly purchased from Experian subsidiary and data aggregator Court Ventures. However Ngo testified under oath that the information he had sold to identity thieves had actually been acquired from another hacker based out of Russia, and not Experian or Court Ventures. Ngo then resold the information he acquired from the Russian hacker through the identity fraud enabling websites Superget.info and Findget.me.[27][28][29][30][31] The information offered for anonymous sale on these websites included individual’s name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, place of work, duration of work, state driver’s licence number, mother’s maiden name, bank account number(s), bank routing number(s), email account(s) and other account passwords.[31]

2015 data breach

On 1 October 2015 Experian announced that they had discovered a data breach existing between 1 September 2013 and 16 September 2015. As many as 15 million people who used the company’s services, among them customers of American cellular company T-Mobile who had applied for Experian credit checks, may have had their private information exposed.[32][33]

IT expert Dr. Duane Thresher[failed verification] previously pointed out,[when?] HealthCare.gov was launched in Oct 2013, after Experian had been hacked, and used Experian for identity verification (authentication). Thus, most of the millions who signed up at HealthCare.gov may have had their private information exposed to hackers.[34][better source needed]


  1. ^Feisst, Melanie (27 July 2006). “Ireland has the edge, says expansive GUS”. Archived from the original on 28 September 2018. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  2. ^“About Experian | Company Profile | Office Locations|”. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  3. ^ Jump up to:ab c d “Annual Report 2019” (PDF). Experian. 27 February 2020.
  4. ^“Credit Services”. Experian plc. Archived from the original on 24 September 2017. Retrieved 23 September2017.
  5. ^“About Experian | Company Profile | Corporate Fact Sheet”. www.experian.com. Archived from the original on 24 September 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  6. ^“Credit Report Company Information at Experian.com”. www.experian.com. Archived from the original on 24 September 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  7. ^“How to protect yourself against the theft of your identity”. The Economist. 14 September 2017. Archivedfrom the original on 14 September 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  8. ^Ingram, David. “Facebook cuts ties to data brokers in blow to targeted ads”. U.K. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  9. ^“Experian’s Four Principal Business Groups”. www.experian.com. Archived from the original on 24 September 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  10. ^“Free Credit Reports”. Consumer Information. 26 March 2013. Archived from the original on 24 September 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  11. ^“A History of the Three Credit Bureaus”. CreditRepair.com. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  12. ^“Experian Investors Reap Substantial Returns”. Los Angeles Times. 15 November 1996. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  13. ^“GUS shares soar on pounds 1bn acquisition”. The Independent. 15 November 1996. Archived from the original on 26 January 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  14. ^“Large British Retailer to buy US credit data company”. New York Times. 15 November 1996. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  15. ^“London Stock Exchange company profile”. London Stock Exchange. Archived from the original on 11 July 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  16. ^Gupta, Rohit (6 December 2018). Reward and Donation Crowdfunding: A Complete Guide for Emerging Startups. Notion Press. ISBN 978-1-68466-089-6.
  17. ^“Consumerinfo.com Settles FTC Charges”. Federal Trade Commission. Archived from the original on 6 June 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  18. ^Quotation marks around “free credit report” are part of FTC press release
  19. ^Experian to cut 200 jobs Archived 30 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine Computer Weekly. Retrieved 3 March 2008.
  20. ^Experian Canada Archived 10 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 25 March 2009
  21. ^Koren, James Rufus (23 March 2017). “Credit bureau Experian fined $3 million over misleading credit scores”. Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 25 March 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  22. ^“Mitek and Experian partner to add ID document and facial verification to CrossCore”. BiometricUpdate. 31 May 2018. Archived from the original on 26 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  23. ^Sullivan, Bob (10 May 2005). “Many free credit reports still aren’t free”. NBC News. Retrieved 29 October 2006.
  24. ^“Experian, Consumerinfo.com Named in Class Action Suit”. ConsumerAffairs.com. Archived from the originalon 2 November 2006. Retrieved 29 October 2006.
  25. ^“Tories identify eight groups of voters as Labour look to Obama campaign for inspiration: The sophisticated tools that rivals hope will win them 2015 election revealed”. Independent. 6 November 2013. Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  26. ^“Vietnamese National Charged in Widespread International Scheme to Steal and Sell Hundreds of Thousands of U.s. Persons’ Personally Identifiable Information”. 18 October 2013. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  27. ^Schwartz, Mathew (21 October 2013). “Experian Sold Data To Vietnamese ID Theft Ring”. InformationWeek. UBM Tech. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  28. ^Seltzer, Larry (21 October 2013). “Experian caught up in ID theft investigation”. ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Archivedfrom the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October2013.
  29. ^Masnick, Mike (21 October 2013). “How Experian Sold Consumer Data To Popular ID Theft Service”. Techdirt. Floor64, Inc. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  30. ^Doctorow, Cory (21 October 2013). “Experian sold consumer data to identity thieves’ service”. Boing Boing. Archived from the original on 24 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  31. ^ Jump up to:ab Krebs, Brian (20 October 2013). “Experian Sold Consumer Data to ID Theft Service”. krebsonsecurity.com. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  32. ^Thielman, Sam (2 October 2015). “Experian hack exposes 15 million people’s personal information”. The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 1 February 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  33. ^“Experian Breach Affects 15 Million Consumers”. Krebs on Security. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  34. ^“Experian hacked Sep 2013 – Sep 2015; HealthCare.gov hacked Oct 2013 – Sep 2015?”. Stop IT Incompetence. Apscitu Inc. Retrieved 14 March 2020.

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