Experian plc
TypePublic limited company
FTSE 100 Component
IndustryBusiness services
PredecessorsGUS plc (1996 – 2006)
Founded1996; 25 years ago (1996)
HeadquartersDublin, Ireland[1][2]
Number of locations
Key people
RevenueIncrease US$5.179 billion (FY2020)[3]
Increase US$1.185 billion (FY2020)[3]
Decrease US$675 million (FY2020)[3]
Total assetsIncrease US$8.899 billion (FY2020)[3]
Total equityDecrease US$2.275 billion (FY2020)[3]
Number of employees
17,800 (2021)[4]
Websitewww.experian.com Edit this at Wikidata

Experian plc is an Anglo-Irish multinational consumer credit reporting company. Experian collects and aggregates information on over 1 billion people and businesses including 235 million individual U.S. consumers and more than 25 million U.S. businesses.[5][6]

Based in Dublin, Ireland, the company operates in 37 countries with offices in Brazil, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The company employs approximately 17,000 people and had a reported revenue of US$5.18 billion for the fiscal year ended in March 2020.[7][8] 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.[9]

In addition to its credit services, Experian also sells decision analytic and marketing assistance to businesses, including individual fingerprinting and targeting.[10] Its consumer services include online access to credit history and products meant to protect from fraud and identity theft.[11] Like all credit reporting agencies, the company is required by U.S. law to provide consumers with one free credit report every year.[12]


The company has its origins in Credit Data Corporation, a business which was acquired by TRW Inc. in 1968,[13] and subsequently renamed TRW Information Systems and Services Inc.[14]

In November 1996, TRW sold the unit, as Experian, to Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.[15] 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).[16] GUS merged its own credit-information business, CCN, which at the time was the largest credit-service company in the UK, into Experian.[17]

In October 2006, Experian was demerged from GUS and listed on the London Stock Exchange.[18][19]

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.[20][Note 1]

In January 2008, Experian announced that it would cut more than 200 jobs at its Nottingham office.[21]

Experian shut down its Canadian operations on 14 April 2009.[22]

In March 2017, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined Experian $3 million for providing invalid credit scores to consumers.[23]

In October 2017, Experian acquired Clarity Services, a credit bureau specialising in alternative consumer data.[24]


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.[25][26]

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.[27]

Sales to identity thieves

In 2013 a Vietnamese national, Hieu Minh Ngo,[28] 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.[29][30][31][32][33] 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.[33]

2015 data breach

Letter from Experian North America CEO, Craig Boundy, informing T‑Mobile customer their personal information was compromised in Experian server hack.
Letter from Experian North America CEO, Craig Boundy, informing T‑Mobile customer their personal information was compromised in Experian server hack.

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.[34][35]

2020 data breach

In 2020 it was revealed that Experian had suffered a further data breach, on this occasion in South Africa.[36] Initially, Experian claimed that the incident had been contained[37] but subsequently this was shown to be untrue. Data on 24 million South Africans was leaked, as well as on nearly 800,000 businesses. Of these, 24,838 had financial details leaked.[38]

2021 data breach

In January 2021 a new leak was revealed in Brazil, with the source being linked to Experian's Brazilian subsidiary Serasa Experian. The breach resulted in data of 220 million citizens (including some already dead) being sold in the web. This is probably the most severe data breach in history, as it includes names, social security numbers, income tax declaration forms, addresses and other private information on nearly all Brazilian citizens.[39] Experian claims there's no evidence that its systems have been compromised, but this lack of evidence doesn't explain it being the only probable source for the data. According to a Brazilian consumer rights foundation, the company has not been handling the breach appropriately.[40]

See also

Explanatory notes

  1. ^ Quotation marks around "free credit report" are part of FTC press release.


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  3. ^ a b c d e "Annual Report 2020" (PDF). Experian. 25 February 2021.
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  13. ^ Dyer, Davis (1998). TRW: Pioneering Technology and Innovation since 1900. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. pp. 279, 309, 390. ISBN 0-87584-606-8.
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  16. ^ "GUS shares soar on pounds 1bn acquisition". The Independent. 15 November 1996. Archived from the original on 26 January 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  17. ^ "Large British Retailer to buy US credit data company". The New York Times. 15 November 1996. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  18. ^ "London Stock Exchange company profile". London Stock Exchange. Archived from the original on 11 July 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  19. ^ Gupta, Rohit (6 December 2018). Reward and Donation Crowdfunding: A Complete Guide for Emerging Startups. Notion Press. ISBN 978-1-68466-089-6.
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  22. ^ Experian Canada Archived 10 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 25 March 2009
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  27. ^ "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.
  28. ^ "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.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ Seltzer, Larry (21 October 2013). "Experian caught up in ID theft investigation". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ a b 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.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ "Experian Breach Affects 15 Million Consumers". Krebs on Security. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  36. ^ "Experian Data Breach". SABRIC. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  37. ^ Shange, Naledi (20 August 2020). "How Experian was duped into handing over data on 24 million South Africans". TimesLIVE. South Africa. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  38. ^ Hosken, Graeme (13 September 2020). "Data from huge Experian breach found on the internet". Sunday Times. South Africa. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  39. ^ "The largest personal data leakage in Brazilian history". OpenDemocracy.net. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  40. ^ "Experian Challenged Over Massive Data Leak in Brazil". ZDNET. Retrieved 22 February 2021.