New Study Underscores the Importance of Credit and Your Credit Score
A new study, “Understanding the Underserved: A Growing Population of Emerging Credit Consumers*,” reveals that more than 45 million consumers are considered to be either credit unserved or underserved in the United States.
Within each credit economy, there are credit-visible and invisible consumers, as defined by the presence of consumer credit information.
- Consumers with no history of credit usage on their credit bureau file are the credit invisible; defined as credit unserved consumers.
- Amongst the credit-visible consumer population — those who do have some level of current or past borrowing activity on their credit file — there are consumer segments with varying credit history, experience, usage and participation.
Worldwide, a growing and sizeable population of credit-visible consumers have accessed traditional credit products but aren’t using them to the same extent as more credit-active counterparts. We call this consumer population the credit underserved. Traditional credit products are credit accounts issued by lending institutions or non-traditional / online lenders such as FinTechs. Examples of traditional products may include credit card, auto loan, unsecured person loan, label/store cards and student loans.
Facilitating financial literacy and ongoing engagement can empower and support the underserved and unserved, enabling them to become consumers who can utilize credit access to start families, buy homes and launch businesses, thereby strengthening the economies in the communities where they live.
In today’s world, the importance of having credit and a credit score cannot be overstated.
Nidhi Verma, VP of International Research and Consulting at TransUnion will discuss how to help traditionally ‘unscoreable’ consumers, who face a “chicken or egg” conundrum of how to get that first credit product when they lack a credit history. This study served to better understand how many people are truly under- or unserved from a credit perspective, while also determining paths for them to gain more credit opportunities.
About: Nidhi Verma, Vice President of International Research and Consulting
Nidhi Verma is a financial services thought leader with extensive experience in driving analytics to identify and solve business problems, develop financial plans and create strategic initiatives. Previously at TransUnion, she led the customer consulting team (within the innovative solutions group) responsible for diagnosing underlying business issues, and uncovering and imparting strategic insights from credit and alternative data assets. Verma also led the US Financial Services Research and Consulting Group, delivering industry insights relevant to the consumer credit marketplace, and conducting research studies to address key themes informing business strategies.
Before joining TransUnion, Verma held prominent positions at Discover Financial Services, Citigroup, Citi EMEA, and Fifth Third Bank where she served as CFO of the bankcard business. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in commerce from the University of Delhi, and an MBA in finance from Loyola University of Chicago.
This interview is provided by TransUnion.
*Methodology: Our study analyzed depersonalized credit data of 572 million credit consumers in Canada, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, South Africa and the United States. We reviewed their credit participation, activity, originations, scores, balances and performance throughout two cohorts: pre-pandemic and pandemic. For the pre-pandemic cohort, the study identified consumers in March 2018, and examined their behavior and performance through March 2020, the month in which the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. The pandemic cohort began in June 2019 and was studied through the end of June 2021. This design allowed us to analyze how consumers performed before and after the onset of the pandemic. To better understand the voice of the consumer, we conducted an online global survey (consumer survey was conducted from August 3, 2021 through Jan 5, 2022 by TransUnion in partnership with third-party research provider, QualtricsTM Research-Services.) of 11,128 credit consumers from a range of developed and developing credit markets