A widely recognised company that rates securities based on the ability to pay back the money, and the agreed-upon interest, that governments and businesses borrow from investors in return for the debt they buy. They can be referred to as CRAs.

Their main purpose is to track the players in the financial world, whether they be companies, governments or entire countries and to make a qualified statement about their financial loans, real estate dealings (for example, mortgage backed securities) or other types of debt instruments in the form of a rating. Standard and Poor´s, Moody´s and Fitch are the «big three» credit rating companies.