TransUnion Consumer Credit Report Data
Comprehensive consumer credit and borrowing data gleaned from public records, collection agencies, and trade lines, such as credit card balances, auto loans and mortgages. Includes credit balances, credit scores, unpaid bills, and bankruptcy.
US residents with a credit history
Data are available to researchers for purchase. Researchers must contact an account manager from TransUnion to request data and to negotiate details of the data transfer. A data sharing agreement is required. Details for identifying an account manager are not available.
For certain types of data, TransUnion may require that the researcher’s organization is certified as a “trusted financial entity” that can receive credit data. This may require an in-person site visit by TransUnion staff.
If all personally identifiable information (PII) is removed from records prior to delivery to researchers, no hard or soft inquiries will be posted to consumers’ files as a result of extracting their credit report data.
Timeline for Access
Accessing data involves working with different TransUnion divisions depending on the desired data set(s). The timeline to gain access after initiating the process will vary depending on the chosen credit report product and complexity of the request.
Cost depends on the number of records requested as well as the types of variables and level of detail requested. Cost seems to be negotiable, but significant (i.e., thousands of dollars per file). Price algorithms are not publicly available.
There are two types of files: standard attributes files with aggregate data and "raw" files with finer data and date. Raw files are much more expensive. Researchers may also request custom sets of attributes.
Researchers may send a finder file with a list of individuals for whom records are requested. Researchers may include a de-identified “Study ID” in the data set and request that TransUnion include the Study ID in the linked data. TransUnion will match these individuals and send back a file stripped of PII. To our knowledge, TransUnion is not willing to transmit an identified data set.
Identifiers Available for Linking
- TransUnion will link on any of the following:
- Social Security number
Partial List of Variables
Credit balances, credit card balance, credit limit, credit score, reason for credit score, unpaid bills, debts sent to collection agencies, tax liens, judgments, bankruptcy, medical bills
J-PAL Randomized Evaluations Using this Data Set
Amy Finkelstein, Sarah Taubman, Bill Wright, Mira Bernstein, Jonathan Gruber, Joseph P. Newhouse, Heidi Allen, Katherine Baicker, and the Oregon Health Study Group, "The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment: Evidence from the First Year", Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2012 Aug; 127(3): 1057-1106.
Other Research Using this Data Set
Dobkin, Carlos, Amy Finkelstein, Raymond Kluender, and Matthew J. Notowidigdo. 2016. “The Economic Consequences of Hospital Admissions.” Working Paper 22288. National Bureau of Economic Research. doi:10.3386/w22288.
Julia Brown, Lucia Goin, Nora Gregory, Katherine Hoffmann, and Kim Smith. “Evaluating Financial Products and Services in the US.” December 2015. (See pages 53-56)