Experian highlights risks after Equifax security breach

Sean Farrell WebFG News | 15 Nov, 2017 08:12 - Updated: 08:53 | | |

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17:19 23/11/17

Experian said risks from regulation and information security could rise after a massive data breach at rival credit monitor Equifax.

Reporting first-half results, the world's biggest credit checking company said: "The Equifax data brach has resulted in increased legislative and regulatory activity and may result in increased oversight of security matters. The notoriety of the breach has also increased in the near term the external risks associated with information security."

In September Equifax revealed a security breach that allowed hackers to steal financial records for up to 146m customers. They stole social security numbers, which are widely used for identity verification in the US, prompting calls for tougher regulation of the credit monitoring sector.

Experian, which makes more than half its revenue in North America, said it had "a spike in enrolments in the immediate aftermath of the Equifax data breach".

Experian said it had a good start to the year as higher sales to businesses helped make up for falling revenue at its consumer division in the first half, where it was expected to benefit from the massive cyber breach at US rival Equifax.

Operating profit for the six months to the end of September rose 6% to $518m (£393m) as revenue rose 5% to $2.2bn.

Organic business-to-business revenue, which excludes acquisitions, increased 7% as Experian added activities including consumer debt resolution and new data to verify income and assets.

That growth helped offset shrinking income at Experian's consumer businesses. In the UK and Ireland, consumer revenue dropped 18% to $86m causing total revenue in that region to drop 8% to $378m. In North America headline consumer revenue rose 4% to $374m but on an organic basis revenue fell 4% at constant exchange rates.

Experian said it had attracted almost 3m new members by offering free credit scores in the UK and Ireland in an effort to revive the consumer business. Revenue from matching customers with card and loan offers is growing but business from subscriptions for credit monitoring is shrinking.

Brian Cassin, Experian's chief executive, said: "We have started the year well and are on course to deliver stronger organic revenue growth as we move through the year.

"We are now consistently delivering strong growth in our business-to-business activities and anticipate a further moderation in the decline of Consumer Services as new product launches take root."

Experian operates in North America, Latin America, UK and Ireland and Asia. Revenue rose in all regions except the UK and Ireland in the first half.

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