The Credit Bureau in Nigeria: Facts and Figures

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Nigeria’s banking sector faced a crisis characterized by predatory debtors moving from one bank to another, neglecting their obligations. To address this, the Central Bank of Nigeria took action by establishing a central database to regulate this practice, giving birth to the Credit Bureau of Nigeria. This pivotal move was supported by legislation obligating financial institutions to maintain updated lists of borrowers, thus enabling a comprehensive borrower profile to determine eligibility.

The Birth of The Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria

In 2008, the Central Bank granted credit bureau licenses to three private companies: CRC Bureau Credit Limited, CR Services Credit Bureau PLC, and XDS Credit Bureau Limited. Together, these entities formed what is now known as The Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria in 2012.

Functions of The Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria

  1. Maintaining a Database of Borrowers

The Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria collects and maintains vital information from borrowers. This includes contact details of individuals and companies, as well as a detailed history of previous loans. Additionally, it records whether these loans were paid in a timely manner, and notes any instances of bankruptcy or court judgments.

  1. Centralized Storage of Information

The Association possesses the capability to securely store large volumes of data over extended periods. This ensures that lending institutions have reliable, long-term access to borrower information without the risk of loss, theft, or tampering.

  1. Providing Credit Information Upon Request

A key service offered by the Bureau is the provision of Credit Information Reports. These reports cover a span of three years and are made available to lenders upon request.

  1. Eliminating Information Discrepancies

One of the primary aims of the Credit Bureau is to ensure the accuracy of information provided to lenders by borrowers. This helps prevent scenarios where individuals obtain loans from multiple banks, a practice that can lead to significant financial losses.

  1. Enhanced Access to Credit

Before the establishment of Credit Bureaus, obtaining a loan was a cumbersome process, often requiring substantial collateral or personal connections. With the advent of Credit Bureaus, the process has become more streamlined, as they provide a credit information report based on financial behavior.

How to Check Your Credit Score

Checking your credit score is a straightforward process. The Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria offers a ‘Self Enquiry’ option for this purpose, which is completely free of charge. However, individuals can access their report only once a year. To avail of this service, simply contact the Bureau and sign up via email.

Factors Affecting Your Credit Score

Your credit score is influenced by various factors, with payment history playing a pivotal role. Timely loan repayments build a positive credit history, while delays can negatively impact your score. Additionally, the level of debt you carry also matters. Too much debt can lower your score, but resolving it can lead to an improvement.


Understanding your credit score is crucial in navigating the lending landscape. It provides valuable insights into your financial standing and helps in making informed decisions about acquiring loans. By familiarizing yourself with the workings of Credit Bureaus, you empower yourself to take charge of your financial future.

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