TransUnion launches new government business

Gone are the days when TransUnion was just a credit bureau, and the company is proving it with the creation of a new government business.

For a company like TransUnion, a global risk and information solutions provider, the government space makes a lot of sense.

“We’ve seen a big shift in the market now towards using data providers like TransUnion to leverage credit data, criminal data and public data,” said Jonathan McDonald, executive vice president, Government Information Solutions, U.S. Information Services – Public Sector, TransUnion.

But the reasoning behind the push is deeper still. The company issued an initial public offering in June 2015, and at that point, TransUnion CEO James Peck was looking for ways to continue growth, from both a “top line and an EBITDA perspective,” McDonald said.

The kinds of capabilities the company offered made the government an appealing market.

Getting into the government market so suddenly might seem overzealous until you discover that TransUnion has been involved in the space for close to two years, quietly going after “low-hanging fruit” and getting a GSA schedule in place.

During that time, McDonald grew his executive team and hammered out the unit’s product strategy.

TransUnion is focused right now on fraud, McDonald said, whether that be tax fraud, identification fraud, or identity authentication, but the company is also focusing on benefit eligibility.

The benefit eligibility aspect of the business is a two-sided coin; on one side, McDonald said, the company will be using credit data to ensure that the government employee trying to access the benefit is, in fact, who they say they are. On the other side, though, the company is working to notify government employees who may be eligible for certain benefits that they can apply for them.

Part of the reason that TransUnion decided to move into the government space is due to the wide array of capabilities it is able to perform, McDonald said.

“We have a strong investigation-type services capabilities through some acquisitions, so we have thousands of law enforcement agencies that are using our technology, called TLOxp,” he said, “And that’s used extensively for investigating people and businesses and also drawing connections between people, places, assets and locations.”

“With the combination of our legacy credit bureau information coupled with the criminal and public record acquisitions that we’ve made over the last few years, we’re in a really unique spot,” he added,

That said, the company does not anticipate much competition in the next year or so as the government business continues to get off the ground.

As for customers, given TransUnion’s focus on fraud, benefit eligibility, and investigation capabilities, the company is targeting the Defense and Homeland Security departments. On the civilian side, McDonald said the company is focused on the Treasury and Commerce departments.

For now, TransUnion’s government team is based in Chicago, save for a few key members who are currently in the Washington, D.C., area, but the company is planning on opening up a Washington office soon.

Going forward, it is all about growing the team and continuing to carve out a niche for itself, McDonald said.

The company does not intend on being an end-to-end solution provider to the government and understands it will be a smaller piece in a larger framework, McDonald said. “We’re going to be partnering with the systems integrators, and we’re going to be partnering with anyone who fills a gap that we don’t have.”

To that end, the company already has a partnership with value-added reseller Carahsoft and is able to leverage a larger procurement vehicle through that partnership.

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a senior staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

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