Most consumers are familiar with Experian. But there are a few interesting tidbits that most people don’t know about the company. Here are a few interesting facts about Experian. The Experian Group employs approximately 15,000 people in 40 countries, supporting clients in more than 65 countries around the world. Total Group revenue for the year ending March 31, 2012 was $4.5 billion.
Although they control the economic fates of millions of Americans, they’re not even a US company. Their headquarters is in Dublin, Ireland and their main offices are in Nottingham, England. Experian was created during a flurry of buyouts and consolidation, getting most of their data from the purchase of TRW Information Services, a 100-year-old credit agency and one of the oldest such firms in America. Since then, they’ve expanded in very telling directions, purchasing email marketing companies, data-mining and surveillance startups, and several debt consolidation and collection firms.
Along with TransUnion and Equifax, the other major U.S. credit bureaus, Experian markets its credit information not only to lenders but also to consumers, who can sign up for a fee-based credit monitoring program. By the Fair Credit Reporting Act, however, these agencies must provide individuals in the U.S. with a credit report, free of charge, once a year on request. You can dispute the information in a credit report; Experian routes these cases through its National Consumer Assistance Center in Texas.
At one time, Experian used the credit rating formulas generated by the Fair Isaac Corporation, also known as FICO, to gauge consumer creditworthiness for the use of potential lenders. However, a disagreement between the two companies led to a parting of the ways, and Experian now employs its own scoring method, known as the PLUS score. PLUS scores range from 330 to 830, rather than FICO's 300 to 850. Experian does not disclose the formula it uses to arrive at the PLUS score, although the major ingredients are payment history, the ratio of outstanding balances to credit limit, length of credit history and number of credit inquiries.
Creditors employ many different credit scores to determine creditworthiness, including FICO and the VantageScore, which is generated by the three rating agencies in combination. Therefore Experian's own PLUS score may not be an accurate gauge of the number that lenders are using to make their decisions. Instead, the PLUS score is primarily designed as an educational and marketing tool, designed to inform consumers about the general state of their credit and to generate revenues for the company through credit-monitoring products.
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