When people think of Experian, they automatically think of a credit bureau. After all, Experian is one of the ‘big three’ credit rating agencies in the US. However, there is much more to this highly diversified business than most people realise.
Experian Marketplace’s direct-to-consumer (D2C) business is a prime example. Conceived six years ago as part of an incubation programme, it has assembled a network of lending partners who allow the company to serve offers to its broad consumer base. The core Marketplace mission centres around data, personalisation, and how they can be used to improve financial inclusion and restore financial power for consumers.
Rakesh Patel, SVP – Marketplace for Experian, explains: “Experian Marketplace is about giving consumers confidence to apply through pre-approved programmes. It gives transparency to consumers about the offer that they see in front of them – and that's through deeper integrations with our lending partners. It's providing relevant experiences by leveraging personalisation and data that we and our lending partners have collectively.”
Experian ‘driving relevancy and personalisation’ for borrowers
The relationship that Marketplace has with Experian’s credit bureau is not a coincidence, nor is it one that the team takes for granted. Access to credit data gives the D2C platform unparalleled advantages, including the ability to scale pre-approved programmes quickly. It also allows Experian to operate across multiple verticals including credit cards, personal loans and – since the acquisition of Gabi in November 2021 – digital insurance.
That variety ensures consumers receive the support they need to save money across different areas of personal finance – something Rakesh Patel says is really important in light of current macroeconomic conditions. “Currently, 76% of consumers will see a pre-approved offer. We want to take that to 100% of all consumers. We want to focus on the data assets we've got across the breadth of Experian and use that data to drive relevancy and personalisation for consumers.”
When Patel talks to us from California, he is standing in front of a large artwork depicting the All Blacks rugby team performing a traditional haka – a nod to his homeland, New Zealand. For Patel, who started life at Experian 15 years ago in Australia before making the move across the Pacific, there is something about the migrant experience that gives him a deeper understanding of the challenges consumers face.
“Honestly, it was pretty rough to come to the US seven years ago, not knowing how the credit ecosystem works and being penalised because of that,” he recounts. “In the US, when you want to start a credit relationship, the easiest way is to apply and get declined. That's how your credit report becomes available within the credit bureaus. That’s not a consumer-friendly value proposition. Experian has tackled that by saying people no longer need to get declined for anything in order to start a credit relationship. They can come directly to Experian through Experian Go and start their credit relationship on a positive note.”
Forging a fruitful partnership with LendingClub
Experian has a longstanding relationship with LendingClub, both within the D2C marketplace and the credit bureau. It has allowed Experian to create unique experiences for its consumers and Patel believes the partnership will lead to a transformation in how Experian engages with customers. “We have common goals around that consumer sentiment about saving money,” he says.
“The LendingClub partnership has been hugely successful. LendingClub and the D2C marketplace have a vested interest in putting the consumer at the heart of everything we do. With our vision of financial empowerment for all, LendingClub gives us that ability to provide proactive engagement with our consumers around offers that they may be pre-approved for.”
Read the full LendingClub's Digital Report HERE.
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