Omnichannel Media Underpins Identity-Driven Future: TransUnion’s Matt Spiegel

Consumers have more ways to consume media than ever before, challenging advertisers to track the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

CHICAGO – Consumers have more ways to consume media than ever before, challenging advertisers to track the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. The growth of the omnichannel universe is driving a shift toward audience-based measurement, and TransUnion is working to be at the forefront of that development.

The company, which is best known as a provider of consumer credit reporting, has made a significant push into advertising technology with several acquisitions including this month’s deal to buy Tru Optik. The company’s patented identity graph, Tru Optik Household Graph, has information on more than 80 million U.S. households, covering more than 90% of how people consumer content on internet-connected devices including smart TVs, gaming consoles and smart speakers.

TransUnion 18 months ago participated in a funding round of Tru Optik, and this year’s sudden jump in streaming media usage among homebound consumers during the pandemic demonstrated the need for audience-driven measurement.

“We recognized 18 months ago when we made the investment in Tru Optik that they were doing some amazing innovation in a part of the world that was clearly going to become bigger,” Matt Spiegel, executive vice president of marketing solutions and head of media vertical at TransUnion, said in this interview with Beet.TV. “We were sitting on a really amazing set of a data assets that I expected to become more important as the modern marketing world is becoming more people-based and more driven by identity.”

Cookie-Less Future

TransUnion plans to integrate Tru Optik’s platform into its suite of marketing solutions, making its service more nimble.

“We’ve been working over the last 18 months to connect our various views of identity, and the tools and products on top of that we think the market needs,” Spiegel said. “We had to do it as a single entity, we need to be able to move faster, get more integrated, provide the level of innovation that can only be done when you are truly one company.”

The buyout of the remaining interest in Tru Optik follows TransUnion’s acquisition in August of Signal, a technology company focused on real-time data consumer collection, and last year’s purchase of TruSignal, a provider of people-based marketing solutions.

The acquisitions come as growing demands for consumer privacy and stricter regulations on data sharing force the media and marketing industries to develop new methods of tracking audiences. Tech giants like Google and Apple are taking steps to improve privacy measures. Google has indicated it will stop supporting third-party cookies in its popular Chrome browser starting in early 2022, while Apple plans to make app developers obtain consumer consent to opt in to being tracked with its Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), among other measures.

“It’s important that the market recognizes we’re going to have one big TransUnion market set,” Spiegel said. “The future of the media and marketing world is driven by identity- and people-based marketing, and that is done at the individual level, but also the household level.”

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Section 5: Commercial Credit in Europe Market(Volume, Value and Sales Price)

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Section 8: Commercial Credit in India Market(Volume, Value and Sales Price)

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Report finds rise in consumer finance complaints during pandemic

… the “money transfer, virtual currency, or money service” and “credit reporting, credit repair services, or other personal consumer reports” categories.
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byAndrew StahlJuly 29, 2020

The number of financial complaints filed by consumers in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has risen dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an analysis of the CFPB database by LendEDU, an online marketplace for financial products.

LendEDU found a 44% increase in the number of consumer finance complaints filed from March 13 to July 17 of this year, compared to the same period last year. Their analysis also found a 38% increase in complaints from March 13 to July 17 compared to the previous 127-day period.

The report found the largest percent-increases in complaints were filed under the “money transfer, virtual currency, or money service” and “credit reporting, credit repair services, or other personal consumer reports” categories.

LendEDU suggested that the increase in complaints was partially due to erroneous credit reporting while pandemic-related flexibility programs were in place, and money transfer phishing scams, specifically fake Venmo accounts and text messages requesting money. Problems with pandemic-related deferment programs for credit card payments, which numerous credit card companies offered to consumers who proactively notified them, also led to a rise in credit report issues.

“The biggest consumer finance problems since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic have pertained to credit report issues,” the report said. “Specifically, a lack of chemistry between consumers, financial institutions and the credit bureaus to properly manage the added deferments and adjusted payment plans.”

Meanwhile, complaints regarding both student loans and mortgage payments dropped, by 41% and 4% respectively. The report suggested that the steep drop in student loan complaints may be due to all federal student loans being placed in forbearance until September 30.

Money Fix: Consumers say credit ratings dropped despite pandemic deferrals

If you use free credit monitoring tools such as Credit Karma, you can also dispute information directly from their website. You can appeal a change to …

Some hardship programs that allow people to defer monthly payments on credit cards, home, car and student loans during the pandemic offered by creditors have proved problematic for folks who thought they were a godsend.

The credit reporting provisions in the CARES Act basically preserves the status of an account at the time a payment deferral or other accommodations was granted. “So if you were current at the time of the accommodation, you should continue to be reported as ‘current’ if you comply with the terms of the accommodation,” said Chi Chi Wu, a staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center in Boston.

But according to the hundreds of consumer complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, moving from idea to implementation has not gone smoothly, as people with deferral or forbearance agreements say that creditors reported them as having late payments to the credit bureaus and had their credit scores lowered.

“This has been happening way more than it should be! A significant number of our clients were marked late even though they spoke with their creditors and advised them that they were going to be putting payments in deferral. The credit card companies still marked them late and their credit took a dip,” said Adem Selita, co-founder of The Debt Relief Company in Manhattan.

Selita said in an email, “Credit card companies should not be doing this since they are not allowed (by law mind you) to be marking anyone late since the onset of the pandemic, especially if the consumer reached out and made them aware of any hardship.”

Michael Foguth, founder of Foguth Financial Group in Brighton, Michigan, said, “Lenders are looking for revenue. This is a 100% money grab.”

What recourse do you have? Some are turning to the courts.

“The servicer Great Lakes Educational Loan Services erroneously reported to the credit bureaus that many student loan holders had missed payments during the CARES Act loan payment suspension period. A class-action lawsuit has been filed against them and the three credit bureaus,” said Leslie Tayne, a debt resolution attorney with the Tayne Law Group in Melville.

In an email statement to Newsday, Great Lakes said it was “committed to resolving the issue quickly.”

Ben Kiser, managing director for the servicer’s communication services, said, “On May 6, Great Lakes reported repayment borrowers to the credit reporting agencies in a manner it believed would not have a negative impact on borrower credit scores.” On May 11, after Great Lakes began receiving questions from borrowers about their credit scores, Kiser said, “Great Lakes began researching these borrower accounts and determined there was an inconsistency between Great Lakes reporting and that of other student loan servicers. Instead of reporting borrowers as current with monthly payments of $0, Great Lakes reported borrowers as current with deferred monthly payments of $0.”

Kiser said Great Lakes has “let our borrowers know we would adjust the inconsistency in reporting with the credit reporting agencies immediately.”

Tayne said student loan holders should check their credit report from all three bureaus, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax to see if an error was reported. She added that until April 2021, you can check reports from each bureau weekly for free on annualcreditreport.com.

To dispute an error on your credit reports, get in touch with the credit bureaus. To initiate a dispute for Experian, go to the Dispute Center on Experian’s website, Experian.com, or call the number listed on the Experian credit report. To do so for TransUnion, go to dispute.transunion.com or call 833-395-6941. For Equifax, go to Equifax’s website, Equifax.com, or call 866-349-5191. If you use free credit monitoring tools such as Credit Karma, you can also dispute information directly from their website.

You can appeal a change to your credit score by submitting supporting evidence to the credit bureau (for example, showing a written agreement that you were granted a deferral on monthly payments, not just late on your payments). You can submit a complaint to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau here on their website, consumerfinance.gov/complaint.

Protect yourself

How can you get the relief you need and not have it come back to bite you? “Explain your specific situation to your lender and not automatically assume there is an extension. Working with your credit card company is key,” said Paul Miller, founder of Miller & Co. in Manhattan.

Get the facts. “How will the creditor report to the credit bureau, will they still charge interest during the deferment period and what happens to the missed payments at the end of the deferment period,” asked Katie Bossler, quality assurance team lead for GreenPath in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Joshua Zimmelman, president of Westwood Tax & Consulting in Rockville Centre, said, if a creditor grants you a deferral, get evidence. “Don’t just speak to someone on the phone, ask for it in writing. If they then report you to the credit bureau, you have evidence that they were in the wrong.”

By Sheryl Nance-Nash Special to Newsday