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In Data We Trust: Information Integrity is a Two-Way Street

Blog Post01/29/2018
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For many businesses, reliance on data is a critical aspect of day-to-day decision management. You count on the validity of data to guide you when choosing with whom to do business. If it proves faulty, it can steer you into rejecting good customers or accepting bad ones, which can seriously impact your bottom line. For consumers, inaccurate data can pose challenges – leading to the appearance of having bad credit, denials of products or services or being flagged as potentially fraudulent.

TransUnion understands the importance of current, accurate data and gives its customers access to information – including both highly-regulated and publicly available forms of alternative data – that creates powerful, comprehensive views of consumers. Spanning both digital and real worlds, and encompassing data about identity, financial characteristics, behaviors and more, this integrated view is the foundation of enhanced insights that can ultimately improve financial outcomes.

Yet, TransUnion doesn’t just amass data, we integrate and link disparate data from tens of thousands of sources in a way that safeguards the integrity with which it was acquired. From using traditional data to trended data that shows how a consumer has performed over 30 months, to deeper and broader forms of alternative data, TransUnion helps provide you with a clear and holistic picture of a consumer. And because we adhere to strict data governance and take special care to understand the provenance of data – how our suppliers access it and under what terms and conditions – you can be more certain of reliability and make business decisions with confidence.

On the flip side, consumers need to feel comfortable sharing their data and want to be assured it’s being used for good. Ultimately, that’s our intent at TransUnion – to provide access to opportunities that lead to better quality of life. Yet, to make that happen and appease demand for instant insights and availability of products, we do need to share consumer data. It’s definitely a balancing act.

Interestingly, different generations have varied perceptions of data sharing, and furthermore, depending on the industry, levels of trust fluctuate as well. Not surprisingly, Millennials, who’ve been brought up in a digital world, are rather open to data sharing; however, the older, silent generation is more hesitant. Based on life experiences, it stands to reason that generational views of risk would be quite different. However, across all industries, providing your personal information to a business or financial institution appears to be more palatable since we’ve come to expect these entities to regularly request this type of information – as they have for decades. We also perceive that they’re more protective of this information due to the severe repercussions of not securing data.

So what’s important here is building brand trust – no matter what industry you operate in. It’s key to show you’re using personal data to empower consumers and to enable them to get what they want and need, (e.g., relevant and useful products and services). Companies need to be transparent in how they use personal data and how they communicate the benefits of sharing that data. Additionally, TransUnion fervently wants its customers and consumers to know that we go to great lengths to protect their data, and that we can provide them with tools to help better protect their own privacy and data as well.

Understandably, with the rise in cyber threats and fraud, consumers are more leery and their confidence rightfully tested. TransUnion takes its stewardship of this sensitive information very seriously. We focus on data security across the company, with active engagement from our executive team and throughout our ranks. Our compliance, information security and investigation teams work together to protect customers and consumers that put their trust in us. Threats are monitored and evaluated to ensure internal controls are adjusted as needed to remain effective in a rapidly changing threat environment.

Bottom line: Current, accurate, ethically sourced data that gives you a comprehensive view is essential to your business’ success. That’s why we go beyond traditional data and provide trended and alternative data, showing consumers in their entirety. In return, you can target individuals with appropriate, timely and useful offers that genuinely speak to their specific needs – proving the data they share is truly being used for their benefit. And that makes data sharing a win-win situation.