Innovis Data Solutions is a less-well-known fourth credit bureau in the United States, owned by Ohio-based CBC Companies. Like its larger rivals, Experian, Equifax, and Transunion, Innovis gathers consumer credit information and reports it to potential loan issuers so that they can judge the reliability of debtors.
Like the other credit bureaus, Innovis’s business involves collecting reports on consumers from businesses which have issued them credit – that is, consumer debt. These include credit cards, mortgages, lines of credit, car loans, and other forms of debt. Along with this information comes an indication of whether debt payments have always been made on time, or, if not, how late those payments were. The file also contains information ranging from the very mild (a list of who has requested credit checks in the past) to the very serious (bankruptcies). This information can then be used to produce a credit rating, or credit score, a numerical value which judges people’s credit reliability. Traditionally the credit agencies all used the FICO score rating system, although more recently the big three agencies have attempted to switch to their new VantageScore system.
People who have been authorized by the person involved can then request a copy of the credit file and the credit score in order to judge their past reliability in paying back debts. Traditionally, the credit file was obtained by banks when, for example, a person applied for a new credit card or a mortgage. Increasingly, landlords and employers also obtain credit reports on new applicants to judge whether they are suitable, as well. This is the bread-and-butter of the big three credit bureaus’ business model.
Innovis, however, is quite different. Innovis does have product lines providing consumer information to verify identity and combat organized crime. Historically, however, its best-known activity has been compiling and selling databases of individuals with poor credit. Companies purchasing the database may not have full access to the credit report, but they can identify those who are poor credit risks and eliminate them from mailing or telemarketing campaigns involving new credit, like credit cards. (Or, one presumes, they may target them with special cards designed for people with poor credit.) A second list maintained by the company tracks address changes, allowing junk mail campaigns to update their databases faster than they otherwise could.
Like the other credit bureaus, Innovis does allow consumers to inspect their own file and report errors or other problems. It also offers consumers the chance to request to opt-out of their distributed mailing lists.
Innovis was formerly Associated Credit Bureaus during the 1970s and 1980s, and Consumers Credit Associates during the 1990s. It became Innovis when it became a subsidiary of First Data in that decade, and then was acquired by CBC in 1999.