Women, Farmers and Youth Lead the New-to-Credit Consumer Segment and Emerge as Catalysts of Sustainable Financial Inclusion in India

Consumers from all generations access loans each year for the first time and prove to be good risks

Mumbai: Findings from TransUnion’s newly released global study, “Empowering Credit Inclusion: A Deeper Perspective on New-to-Credit Consumers,” highlights that new-to-credit consumers are key contributors to sustainable financial inclusion and economic growth in India. According to the report findings, new-to-credit (NTC) consumers, those early in their credit journeys – in India and across the globe – generally perform as well or better than borrowers with established credit and similar risk scores. This finding may give some assurance to lenders in both developed and developing credit markets that they can extend additional credit products to NTC consumers without being at risk of materially higher delinquencies.

The study included data and insights about millions of consumers in varied global markets, including India, Brazil, Colombia, Canada, Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Philippines, South Africa, and the United States.

TransUnion defined NTC consumers as those with no prior credit history on their credit bureau file who opened their first-ever, traditional credit product such as a consumer durable loan, personal loan, agricultural loan, two-wheeler, gold loan, home loan, or other credit product. To better understand the NTC consumer profile, credit needs and performance, the study followed the first two years of a consumer’s formal credit journey to understand subsequent product needs and the delinquency performance after six months on those subsequent products. It then compared them to the delinquency rate of credit served consumers with established credit histories who also opened the same types of products in the same time period.

In India, 35 million consumers opened their first credit product and became NTC in 2021, and another 31 million became NTC through the first nine months of 2022. In 2021, Millenials (consumers born between 1980 and 1994) made up the largest part of this group with 42%, followed by Gen Z (29%), who were born between 1995 and later. NTC consumers in India are also slightly more concentrated in rural areas – in 2021, 67% of NTC consumers were located in rural and semi-urban areas, compared to 57% of the overall population originating new accounts.

“The socio-economic evolution in India has seen the emergence of women, youth and rural as leading and profitable customer segments in the market. The TransUnion study findings emphasize that by further empowering this segment of consumers with timely and customized credit opportunities, credit institutions can help them fulfill their aspirations and life goals, while driving profitable business growth, strengthening customer loyalty, and supporting economic development,” said Rajesh Kumar, MD and CEO of TransUnion CIBIL, a TransUnion group company.

Between 2017 and 2022, women grew from 32% to 34% of NTC consumers in India, while those in rural areas increased from 30% in 2017 to 34% of all NTC consumers in 2022. The largest growth was among young people aged 18 to 30, who grew from being 31% of NTC consumers in 2017 to being 45% of NTC consumers in 2022.

The study found that consumer durable loans are generally the first credit product opened by most NTC borrowers in India. Furthermore, the study found that 26% of NTC consumers during the first three quarters of 2022, to September, started their credit journey by opening a consumer durable loan, followed by 16% of NTC consumers who opened an agricultural loan as their first credit product, and 13% who entered the credit market by opening a personal loan.

Among the NTC consumers who opened consumer durable loans as their first credit product, a higher proportion were women than among credit served consumers (29% NTC vs 14% credit served). Furthermore, 48% of the NTC consumers that chose consumer durable loans as their first credit product live in rural and semi-urban geographies, compared to 35% of credit served consumers who have consumer durable loans with the same risk and age dimensions. This clearly indicates that consumers entering the credit market for the first time have unique needs that lenders can serve better by gaining a deeper understanding of their needs and behaviours. Forty-nine percent of these NTC consumer durable loan borrowers opened subsequent products within the first two years of opening their first product. Of these, 72% of the subsequent products opened within those two years were consumer durable loans. 26% of the 49% NTC borrowers opened a personal loans as their subsequent products opened within those two years.

Similar observations were made for NTC consumers who started their journey with personal loans, credit cards, and agricultural loans. Almost twice the ratio of NTC consumers were women in underserved geographies, which emphasizes India’s tremendous progress in advancing financial inclusion.

Table 1. Mapping India’s New-to-Credit (NTC) Landscape

First Product in NTC Wallet


Ratio of women (NTC % compared to credit served%)

Ratio of rural and semi-urban (NTC % compared to credit served%)

Most popular subsequent product opened

Consumer Durable Loans


2.07 times higher

1.4 times higher

Consumer durables (72%)


Personal Loans


2 times higher


1.5 times higher


Personal Loans (76%)


Credit Cards


2 times higher


1.5 times higher

Credit Cards (52%)


Agricultural Loans


1.7 times higher


1.2 times higher


Agricultural Loans (80%)


Two-Wheeler Loans


1.3 times higher


1.5 times higher

Consumer Durables (41%)

“The data from our study demonstrates that new-to-credit consumers are often good risks who are in need of credit opportunities to fulfill their aspirations or life goals, and that they will show loyalty to the financial institutions that offer them their first credit accounts,” Kumar said.

In nearly every region, depending on risk tier or time period of origination, there were instances in which NTC borrowers had lower delinquency rates on subsequently-opened products than those of established borrowers. In India, on subsequent products after opening their first account, NTC consumers had comparable delinquency rate levels relative to credit-served consumers, when controlled for risk and age. This is an indication that many NTC consumers are careful to make timely payments on their loans in order to preserve ongoing access to this source of funds.

Better understanding the NTC consumer’s perspective

TransUnion also undertook a survey-based market research study to understand the voice of NTC consumers, which included responses from 8,465 NTC consumers from a range of markets, including India, Colombia, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Philippines, South Africa and the United States.

The study found that new expenses were the primary driver for opening a first lending product in nearly all markets, excluding the United States and Canada, where having access to a convenient means of spending was the top motivator. In India, 75% of NTC consumers said that the need to open their first loan was driven by a new expense.

When navigating the credit application process, 79% of Indian NTC borrowers reported having to apply several times before they received access to a credit product from the institutions where they applied, but 94% of NTC surveyed consumers said they were satisfied with the amount of credit received.

The study also found that convenience is key for NTC borrowers and this may portend more opportunities for lenders in the future. In selecting which institution to open their first product with, convenience was cited as the top criterion in all regions except for Brazil. In India, one in two consumers cited convenience as the leading factor when choosing a credit provider, with 16% choosing a credit provider based on a recommendation from a friend or family member, and 13% choosing a credit provider where they already hold an account.

Lenders providing an NTC borrower with their first account also may benefit by building loyalty among customers – of the NTC consumers in India who opened a personal loan as their first product, 63% opened their next product with their first lender in wallet. Finally, the study found that 79% of Indian NTC consumers are interested in opening additional credit products within the next three to five years, and one in two NTC consumers would expand their credit usage with better credit offers, clarity on fees and credit education.

“It’s clear that new-to-credit borrowers around the globe and in India will play a large role in the growth of credit portfolios,” said Kumar. “Financial institutions that use data and technology to drive access to credit opportunities for NTC consumers along with a focus on credit education, will be able to scale sustainable growth.”

For detailed information about all global markets represented in the study, please click here.

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