Equifax is a for-profit consumer credit reporting agency that is based in the United States. It is also one of the oldest consumer credit reporting agencies since it was formed in the year 1899. Equifax has gathered and recorded the financial activity of more than 800 million different consumers around the world as well as over 88 million different businesses globally. It continues to monitor and update the credit record of each consumer as they conduct financial activities toward their debts. Banks and creditors are the ones who inform Equifax about any status changes to a credit account as they take place.
If a consumer wants to request their credit report, or an authorized third-party wants to request it on their behalf, then Equifax will give them a credit report. Each consumer is allowed to request one free credit report per year, as it is required under the Federal Fair Credit Report Act. After that, consumers will have to pay Equifax if they want additional reports within the same 12-month period. Third-party companies, like banks, will also have to pay for the report too. This is how they are able to generate $2.7 billion per year in revenue. With over 9000 employees spread out in 14 different nations worldwide, Equifax is one of the top credit reporting agencies around.
There are many different ways you can check your Equifax credit score. Aside from just going to Equifax and requesting your credit score directly, you can also ask your credit card company or bank to provide you with the credit score if they have it available. Then, of course, there are online companies which provide a service in letting people access their credit reports. Some of the most reputable ones include CreditKarma.com and AnnualCreditReport.com. Critics say that certain service providers have more up to date credit reports than others. Remember you can receive one free Equifax credit report per year from any service provider that you want.
What Information is On My Equifax Credit Report?
Aside from your name and address, Equifax will show both positive information and negative information on your credit report. If you see negative information, that’s obviously the information that you’ll want to get rid of as quickly as possible. This kind of information could be the result of late payments on mortgages, car loans, credit cards, student loans and any other debt that you owe. If a judgment was filed against you in court or you just paid a tax lien that you owe, these will also show up on your Equifax credit report too. All this negative information will be on the report for 7 years. However, if you have unpaid tax liens or if you have filed for bankruptcy in court, then this information may remain on your credit report for as long as 10 years.
The upside to Equifax credit reports is that positive information on them will remain there longer than negative information would. Anytime you have paid off a credit account entirely, whether your monthly payments were all met or you paid off the balance early, this will leave a positive mark on your report for as many as 10 years after the account has been closed. But if you are continuing to make payments on an open account or one that revolves, like a credit card account, then you will continue to see this positive information on your account for as long as you keep it open. A lot of people who are just starting to build their credit tend to get a credit card with a small limit just so they can keep paying on it and build up their credit history. This will make your Equifax credit report look great.
When you apply for a loan or credit card, the first thing the lender is going to do is check your Equifax credit report. They are not only interested in the credit score you have but also your history in making payments toward debts that you owed. They want to see that you made these payments on time and with little to no late payments. If your Equifax credit report can show this, the lender will likely approve you for the loan or credit card that you’re applying for.
How do I dispute the information from my Equifax credit report?
If you have reviewed your Equifax credit report and you believe there are inaccuracies on there, then the next step is to file a dispute. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are allowed to dispute the information of any credit reporting agency’s report on you. There is no cost to file this dispute either. Normally, consumers file their disputes right through Equifax but it is also recommended to file the same dispute with the company which provided the inaccurate information to Equifax.
To file a dispute with Equifax, you should review your credit report first and make note of all the inaccurate information that you believe is on there. Once you do that, you can file a dispute by filling out the online dispute form on the Equifax website. Include as much information as you can about what you feel is wrong with the report. If you paid off any past debts recently and want it reflected on your credit report, you can upload online statements or scanned documents to the online dispute form so you can prove these debts were paid.
Equifax will take 30 days to review your dispute information. After the investigation is completed, an agency representative will contact you with the results of the outcome. If it was proven that the credit report did have bad information, then Equifax will update it promptly. However, if they feel that the information is correct, then it will remain as it is on your report. You are entitled to submit a written response to the outcome that can be attached to your credit report. This statement will be accessible to future companies that pull your Equifax credit report.