Is It Wise For Credit Bureaus To Outsource To Foreign Call Center Firms? (Part 2)
'Whaling' Is The Latest Phishing Threat

Is It Wise For Credit Bureaus To Outsource To Foreign Call Center Firms? (Part 3)

TrueCredit - online personal credit reports and credit scores Prior posts discussed offshore outsourcing and TransUnion. Laurie has problems with TransUnion's credit monitoring service, TrueCredit, and support from its call center. Laurie is worried that if TransUnion and TrueCredit outsource portions of their operations, she won't have the same protections she would have otherwise -- since data security laws vary in other countries. I'd promised Laurie that I'd try to find some answers to her questions.

A wider search found information about TransUnion's participation in industry events for outsourcing professionals. The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals published information about a June 2007 event:

"Performance Monitoring Goals and Requirements for BPO Operations (Call Centers)
Brad Rubin, Director of Operations for TransUnion Interactive (formerly TrueCredit)

  • Overview of the business requirements for using tools to monitor the overall performance of BPO Call Center Operations
  • Discussion of the functionality needed and the types of tools that were examined to achieve TransUnion’s goals.
Brad Rubin is responsible for managing all BPO operations where he has transformed the service operations into a global multi-site operation. Prior to TransUnion, Brad was with Accenture in San Francisco.

So, it appears that TransUnion, parent company, and TrueCredit both perform offshore outsourcing. This is the first time I have ever heard of a credit monitoring service that performs offshore outsourcing. According to a 2006 Janeeva, Inc. press release:

"Janeeva, Inc., the industry leader in ORM (Outsourcing Relationship Management) software, today announced that TrueCredit, a division of TransUnion and a provider of credit management services, has implemented Janeeva Assurance™ software to manage multiple outsourced vendor relationships. True Credit is experiencing rapid growth, and customer care via their call centers is critical to their success. With multiple offshore call center locations comes increased complexity that Janeeva helps manage."

So, TrueCredit has contracts with several outsourcing firms. According to a November 2006 entry at Outsourcing Magazine (OM):

"About Blogger Brad Rubin: Brad Rubin is currently the Director of Operations for TrueCredit, a wholly-owned subsidiary of TransUnion, LLC. While at TrueCredit, Mr. Rubin has been responsible for managing all business process outsourcing (BPO) operations. He has successfully transitioned the TrueCredit service delivery platform into a global, multi-site operation. In addition to his work at TrueCredit, Mr. Rubin is an active speaker within the outsourcing community. In 2006, he participated in the Outsourcing Relationship Management Forum at the University of Michigan and the Telecommunications Risk Management Association (TRMA), Summer Conference. In 2007, he will be presenting a case study entitled Managing Multi-Vendor Environments with Relationship Management Software at the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP), World Summit."

The OM site provides Mr. Rubin's e-mail address and his blog address: I scanned several posts in Mr. Rubin's blog. He mentioned TransUnion's offshore outsourcing activities with vendors in Manila (Philippines), Central America, and New Delhi (India). According to Mr. Rubin's blog, TransUnion is considering new offshore outsourcing arrangements in Cebu (Philippines) and Guatemala. While I haven't read all of the posts in Mr. Rubin's blog, so far I haven't seen any posts about data security or data breach notification.

Now, my friend Laurie knows that both TransUnion and TrueCredit perform offshore outsourcing. We now have idea of some of the country locations. We don't know yet which outsourcing firms. Maybe Mr. Rubin can help Laurie resolve her problems with TrueCredit's customer service department. Maybe Mr. Rubin can explain the scope of TrueCredit's offshore outsourcing activities. Maybe Mr. Rubin can explain the data security processes TransUnion takes to ensure the protection of Laurie's and others' credit information. Maybe Mr. Rubin can provide a list of the specific offshore outsourcing locations and firms.

Last weekend, I wrote to Mr. Rubin asking for answers to the questions above. In my e-mail message to Mr. Rubin, I shared Laurie's message and concerns. So far, I haven't received a response from him, or from anyone at TransUnion. If he responds, I will post his reply in the I've Been Mugged blog.

The economic reasons for companies to outsource work are understandable: to manage costs and stay profitable in a competitive business environment. That's one reason why I titled these posts, "Is It Wise...?" and didn't title it "Is It Profitable...?" Of course, outsourcing and offshore outsourcing are profitable. That's why companies do it.

My point is this: should they? Is it wise to offshore outsource work involving sensitive financial data? Is it wise to do so without informing consumers? Is it wise to do so if consumers prefer otherwise? Is it wise to do so if the company can't provide a high-quality call center operation?

There has to be a balance between a company's need to manage costs, and consumers' need to trust the companies they do business with. Consumers intuitively sense that there's less risk to their sensitive data if companies keep it within their country borders. Some experts have identified the data security risks of offshore outsourcing.

I'll bet that when given a choice, consumers prefer that their credit and financial data is kept within their country's borders, rather than being transmitted around the globe. It all goes to risk. The fewer places credit and financial data are transmitted, the less chances for lost or stolen data. More importantly, it is unclear about exactly which country laws govern the protection of consumer credit and financial data. It is unclear which country laws govern the notification when the company (e.g., TransUnion, True Credit) suffers a data breach by an outsource call center vendor in another country.

That data breach in another country may never happen, but if and when it does, consumers have a right to know - promptly.

More about this next week.


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Outsource IT Provider

From it's title "Is It Wise For Credit Bureaus To Outsource To Foreign Call Center Firms?".....for me, i think if its for the good and success of a Company why not outsource to foreign call centers. If there is a good benefit for the company and for its workers it should be outsource.


Dear Outsource IT Provider:
Thanks for your comment and opinion. It highlights the points in my blog posts:
a) Outsourcing must benefit all 3 -- the company, the workers, and consumers. It's no good if outsourcing benefits only one;
b) Since outsourcing is such a good benefit for consumers, companies should be more direct, honesty, and clear about when and what work they offshore outsource. Why hide something that's good?
c) Offshore outsourcing solutions must account for data breaches and breach notification. If not, then it's no good for consumers.
I notice that you work for a trade group to promote offshore outsourcing in your country. Tell us what your member companies do regarding data security to prevent data breaches, and breach notification for consumers by offshore outsourcing firms.

Offshore Outsourcing Company

Good informative post.....thanks for sharing.

Business process outsourcing

I appriciated to read this's more infomative news.Outsourcing allows companies to focus on other business issues while having the details taken care of by outside experts. This means that a large amount of resources and attention, that might fall on the shoulders of management professionals, can be used for more important, broader issues within the company.


In this recession period the outsourcing market was stumbling upon and most of the small size organization entirely depends on the outsourcing job. In the outsourcing area, web design,logo design and graphic design are increasing their popularity. The buyers and providers are fixed on a deal and then the providers providing the proposed job to the buyer.


Off Shore Advisor:

Thanks for sharing your opinion. Since you seem to represent a trade group in your country, can you provide some facts to support your above assertion? And how does this vary between a recession and a growth economy? What size small organizations? And how exactly do you help prevent data breaches? And when your member organizations have a breach, how can US consumers trust that we'll be notified? Consumers (and not business executives) read this blog and are curious about what outsourcing firms do to protect their sensitive personal data.


Reservations call center

Now a days outsourcing services are most important in every business organization.Why not to outsource if it help boost your business or company..Outsourcing is an important tool as it helps to maximize your revenue and minimize your expenses.


Reservations Call Center:

Thanks for your comment, which I found particularly self-serving. The point of blog series was to highlight the related issues: consumers deserve notice about where their information is sent; companies are obligated to disclose offshore data breaches; and not focus narrowly on maximizing profits (as you say, maximize your revenue and minimize expenses). A better balance must be found between these competing needs.


Business Process Outsourcing

Now outsourcing became a huge business. Many organizations have found that outsourcing their calls globally offshore has been very beneficial and a positive experience to leverage costs and language specialization. The recent Contact Center Satisfaction Index 2010 (CCSI), published by the CFI Group North America, reinforces four critical reasons to keep outsourced call center services within the U.S.



The 2010 study which Business Process Outsourcing referred to can be downloaded from here in Adobe PDF format:

Some interesting data points:

Page 11: "The perceived location of the contact center is a critical driver of contact center satisfaction. For customers who thought the call was handled inside the U.S., CCSI is 79. But for those who thought the call was outside the U.S., CCSI was 21 points lower at 58."

Page 12: "In general, customer frustration with offshore centers yields poor scores across the board. Callers have a difficult time understanding offshore agents, which leads to an ineffective and inefficient process. On the positive side, however, agents do get credit for trying."

Page 3: "Not surprisingly, the IVR system scores the lowest at 61. There is no way to sugarcoat the fact that consumers continue to be extremely frustrated with the automated functions they encounter at call centers. In fact, nearly half (45%) told us they immediately tried to bypass the IVR options altogether in order to reach a live operator (up from 42% last year)."

Page 4: "Customers put the blame on the company that chose to connect them to a foreign
country in order to save money."

The report pretties up a situation that is far less than ideal. And, the report says nothing about the SECURITY of consumers data at these contact centers, offshore or onshore.


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