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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Thursday, May 23, 2024

Credit Bureau as Identity Provider?

Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, May 15, 2006
8:18 pm

I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around the roles different institutions will play if User-Centric Identity takes off.

Will the Credit Bureaus (Equifax®, Experian® or TransUnionSM) become Identity providers? They kind of act in that role now:

  1. A consumer wants to buy something on credit from a vendor, so he claims to be creditworthy.
  2. The vendor doesn’t take the claim at face value, but requests validation from a credit bureau.
  3. Based on evaluation of actions performed previously by that applicant, the credit bureau issues a credit score to the requesting vendor.
  4. Based on the credit score, the vendor decides whether or not to extend credit to the consumer.

This interchange sounds much like the role proposed for Identity Providers in user-centric identity scenarios.

But now the questions:

  1. Will online vendors be willing to pay a fee for each identity verification?
  2. Will consumers be willing to pay a fee for these transactions?
  3. Will consumers trust credit bureaus to deliver reliable information?
  4. Will credit bureaus offer the service out of the goodness of their hearts?
  5. Does anyone really care?

All joking aside – I believe the business relationships that do and will exist between consumers, vendors and identity providers are every bit as important as the underlying technology. But I hear people talking more about competitive protocol stacks than business plans.

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One Response to “Credit Bureau as Identity Provider?”

    [Trackback] Mark Dixon continues his thinking about how user-centric identity will work in the real world by asking if credit bureaus will be identity providers? He has some questions formed in order to explore that:
    But now the questions:
    Will online vendors be …

    Comment by Pete Rowley on May 17, 2006 at 6:27 pm

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