Equifax Credit Reports: All You Need to Know

  • Equifax Credit Reports: All You Need to Know
18 Apr, 2024
Daniel Cohen
14 min
186
man looking at his equifax credit report through magnifying glass

Are Equifax credit errors robbing you of opportunities? Fight back with Consumer Attorneys!

Navigating an Equifax credit report is challenging. For better or worse, Equifax has a huge impact. For some, it's the missing puzzle piece to financial well-being. For others, Equifax errors cause significant financial and emotional harm. We explain it all so you can break the barriers to financial progress. Learn what to do next and who can help.

Why does the credit bureau landscape feel so congested? Do we really need three major consumer reporting agencies (credit bureaus)? That question remains in consumers' minds. But let’s get to the nitty-gritty—understanding Equifax. We hope to help unveil Equifax's intricacies and how it plays a key role in your credit story.

You may have asked yourself this question: How do I check my credit report with Equifax? Or maybe you’ve wondered if Equifax gave you the wrong credit report. Keep reading, and fear not! We’ll thread through the maze of Equifax, revealing vital details. From making sense of the details in your Equifax credit report to helping you arm yourself with the means for disputing errors, we’re here for you. And when the need emerges – do not despair, Consumer Attorneys can help you with filing a claim for any inconsistencies identified in your report. We are the starting point of your journey to credit empowerment!

About Equifax Company and Consumer Data

In the realm of credit reporting, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian stand tall as the three major credit bureaus. Beyond Equifax's self-description as a global data, analytics, and technology company lies a crucial reality that your Equifax credit report can significantly impact your access to credit lines. Equifax has more than a hundred years of history being one of the largest and most powerful credit reporting organizations, working across the globe while wielding significant economic power. Your Equifax credit score report is much more than a simple number; it can define your opportunities for credit, work, or even property ownership in the financial terrain.

The credit bureaus, recognized as Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, are the primary players in producing the credit reports familiar to consumers. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), they function as consumer reporting agencies (CRAs), acquiring, reviewing, and compiling consumer information from data furnishers. Data furnishers are the entities you encounter in everyday life like banks, service providers, and more! Understanding this intricate web of credit reporting is vital for consumers navigating the complex landscape of financial decisions.

How Does Equifax Conduct Credit Reports?

Identifying the issues in Equifax credit reports is certainly a task. Trying to understand the process in which Equifax conducts credit reporting is even more of a challenge because Equifax uses a systematic procedure to create credit reports. Instead of just gathering data, it goes one step further and subjects the accumulated information to a fairly complex algorithmic analysis. Through this algorithmic system, Equifax credit reports provide a snapshot of your financial record.

Based on this information, Equifax provides you with a credit score ranging from 300 to 850, with 300 signifying poor credit and 850 representing financial excellence, a high score may open doors to credit lines and more opportunities. However, the reality is often nuanced since data errors and reporting mistakes by Equifax and other bureaus can paint an inaccurate picture, sometimes persisting for longer than necessary. This underscores the importance of vigilance and actively monitoring your credit reports for any discrepancies that could unfairly impact your score and financial opportunities.

How Long Does a Credit Report from Equifax Take?

Typically, the process for getting your credit report from Equifax is fast, and you can obtain your credit report online soon after requesting it. However, the time it takes may vary depending on whether your credit history is complex or if there are ongoing disputes. Generally, if Equifax is able to verify your identity, once you’ve requested your free credit report, it will take about one business day to receive your report.

What Information Does Equifax Provide in Their Credit Reports?

Equifax credit reports provide an analysis of your financial history, including your credit accounts, payment history, public records, and inquiries. In addition to your credit accounts, Equifax will also retain the dates each of your accounts were opened, their limits, and your payment and balance history.

Along with account information, your personal identifying information, like your name and social security number, will also be included on your report. 

How Does Information Get on My Equifax Credit Report?

Equifax pulls information from numerous sources, including your creditors, who regularly release account details such as payment history and level of utilization of credits. In addition, details from public records such as bankruptcies or tax liens are also included in the report.

Creditors are not required to report to every credit bureau, therefore, it’s important to pull your Equifax credit report because it may contain information not included in your other two credit reports. Hence, the reason why there are three different credit scoring models used for all three credit bureaus.

How Does Equifax Determine My Credit Score?

Credit scores are three-digit numbers used by all three credit bureaus. Credit scores usually range from 300 to 850 but there are some nuances depending on if it’s your Fico or Equifax score. A number of factors, including payment history, available credit, and length of credit history, determine Equifax credit scores.

How Long Does Information Stay on My Equifax Credit Report?

The short answer for how long information remains on your Equifax credit report is-it depends! Your Equifax credit report is not a permanent record, and information remains on your report for different lengths of time. For instance, late payments may be on your record for seven years, while bankruptcies can remain there for up to ten years.

You can’t know exactly what will be included and for how long, but this is another situation where contacting a consumer attorney with experience can help answer difficult questions and assist in the dispute process if necessary.

Which Companies Use Equifax Credit Reports?

Equifax is commonly used by some banks, credit card companies, mortgage lenders, and some employers to make important hiring decisions. In some instances, landlords and utility companies may use a tenant credit report from Equifax when screening prospective tenants.

Equifax Identity Theft Protection

Equifax provides identity theft protection services that assist consumers in minimizing the threats of unauthorized use of their personal information. Equifax’s identity theft protection services act as a preventative measure against the increasing danger of crimes relating to identity theft.

These services provide a level of security in a world where personal information is at risk, and consumers can detect threats quickly, but like anything else, errors still occur. If you have received an Equifax fraud alert on your credit report, you should take swift action.

Can Errors Occur on Equifax Credit Reports?

You may be wondering how to correct a credit report with Equifax and be concerned that your Equifax credit info is wrong. Or perhaps you have mentioned this to yourself. My Equifax credit report has the wrong name. All are valid concerns because Equifax credit report errors do occur! Errors can include misspelled names or even more serious discrepancies, such as listing an account under your credit profile that belongs to someone else. If you believe you have errors on your report, you have a right to have your Equifax credit report fixed.

In larger cases, there may be situations like when Equifax coding errors led to millions of consumers having errors on their reports that were then issued to lenders. In such a case, consumers suffered and endured incorrect credit scores as Equifax transitioned to a new cloud infrastructure. Large or small, you have the right to question, “Why are these errors on my credit report from Equifax?” Unfortunately, credit reporting errors do happen, and when they do, you have options, including legal recourse.

Inaccuracies on Equifax Credit Report

Equifax credit report errors can be disputed. It will be necessary to monitor your report for mistakes and to dispute credit reports with Equifax as false information on accounts, delayed payments, or fraudulent activities.

Receiving an Equifax FCRA credit report is available to you. This means Equifax must provide you with a credit report that complies with the standards set forth by the FCRA since it helps protect consumers from inaccurate credit reporting activity.

Equifax Mixed File

One of the most frequent mistakes in credit reports is to mix files, where information about one consumer is attributed to another. Mixed files from Equifax may result in a mix-up and damage your credit status. In such a case, you can dispute the credit report with Equifax by providing Equifax with information like your name, social security number, and current address. If you choose to dispute your credit report, we recommend using certified mail to preserve your rights. Typically disputing via certified mail doesn’t require you to waive important rights that filing online may require.

Mistakenly Reported as Deceased by Equifax

Can you imagine enjoying your day and then realizing there’s an Equifax deceased error on your credit report? Yikes! Unfortunately, many people have experienced just that by no fault of their own. It is one of the most egregious mistakes that can be made on an Equifax credit report. Deceased errors can result in financial and emotional agony for people and their families. Fortunately, Consumer Attorneys have helped thousands of people correct errors when Equifax says they are deceased.

What Are the Consequences of Having Errors on Your Equifax Credit Report?

Erroneous information in your Equifax credit report may have a long-lasting effect on your financial life. Potential negative effects include:

  • Higher interest rates. Inaccuracies can lower your Equifax credit score report, leading to higher interest rates on loans and mortgages.
  • Difficulty securing credit. Lenders may be hesitant to offer credit to individuals with erroneous credit reports.
  • Employment challenges. Some employers use credit reports in the hiring process, poor credit can potentially affect job opportunities.
  • Difficulty securing housing and utilities. Errors can make it challenging to rent an apartment or get utilities connected, as landlords and utility companies may consider Equifax tenant credit reports for determining your ability to pay your rent on time.

It's crucial to regularly check your credit report, dispute errors promptly, and take legal action if you need to have your Equifax credit report fixed.

You Can Contact Equifax if You Need to Correct an Error on Your Credit Report

Equifax offers multiple ways for consumers to challenge errors on their credit history reports. Here’s a general guide for how to get started with disputing Equifax errors:

  1. Review your credit report regularly. Vigilance and understanding your Equifax credit report is the first line of defense against errors. You should get your credit report from all three major reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) at least once a year. You may be asking, “Exactly where can I get my Equifax credit report from?” No worries! We have you covered. You can get your credit report from Equifax by visiting annualcreditreport.com.
  2. Contact a consumer protection attorney. Whether you discover errors in your Equifax credit report because you’ve lost opportunities, or you discovered it on your own during a regular credit review, you should contact a credit report error lawyer, at Consumer Attorneys. While the dispute process may seem straightforward, there are legal and practical pitfalls to watch out for and a complement of federal and state laws to navigate.
  3. File a dispute with Equifax. If you find an error on your Equifax credit report score and want to file a dispute, you can raise a complaint with Equifax. You can accomplish this online, through mail, or by phone. Make sure to point out the mistake and provide relevant evidence like bank statements or credit card slips. We recommend filing your dispute via certified mail rather than online. Use of an online dispute platform frequently requires you to agree to certain terms and conditions, including waiving your right to file a lawsuit. Since shoddy investigations, inadequate error corrections, and delays are common, filing a lawsuit may be necessary.
  4. Follow up on your dispute. Track the status of your dispute. If your dispute is not investigated and resolved within 30-45 days, contact Consumer Attorneys.

What to Do if You Do Not Receive Answers to Your Questions

If Equifax dismisses your complaint or does not act within a reasonable period, you should contact consumer protection attorneys.

The FCRA gives consumers rights with respect to credit reports. These rights include:

  1. Reviewing your credit report for free weekly at annualcreditreport.com
  2. The right to an accurate credit report
  3. Disputing errors with Equifax
  4. The right to have wrong information adjusted or canceled
  5. Filing a lawsuit. For some errors, this right arises as soon as you realize your Equifax credit report info is wrong, for others, the right arises after you’ve been financially or emotionally harmed
  6. Having legal costs and fees paid for by Equifax when you win your lawsuit

You Can Sue Equifax if There is Incorrect Information on Your Credit Report

Yes! In many instances, you can sue Equifax if there is incorrect information on your credit report. For instance, errors in your Equifax rental history may result in harm which gives you the right to sue Equifax. Additionally, you can sue Equifax for losses arising from errors on your credit report. Credit protection attorneys can help if you find yourself having to seek Equifax credit report repair due to inaccuracies.

Who Can You Contact to Solve a Problem with an Error on Your Equifax Credit Report?

To solve a problem with an error on your Equifax credit report, you should contact Consumer Attorneys.

Assistance with Disputing Equifax Credit Report 

When you check your credit report with Equifax and find errors, you may feel helpless or be wondering how to remove hard inquiries from Equifax. You are not alone because you have access to Consumer Attorneys! If you’ve filed disputes and complaints but haven’t received your desired outcome, hiring a consumer protection lawyer is likely your best course of action. 

Our experienced consumer attorneys can assist with putting the pieces of your life back together by identifying and eliminating errors on your Equifax credit report. Keep reading for more details!

Lawsuits against Equifax

In many instances, clients faced inaccuracies on their credit reports, leaving them with no choice but to sue Equifax. Errors like being incorrectly flagged as deceased, having an active account reported as closed, and even Equifax background checks that are erroneous can significantly impact one's financial future.

Our clients didn't let these errors prevail. We assisted them in rectifying these issues, ensuring not only accurate credit reporting but also securing substantial compensation for the challenges they endured.

Angela v. Equifax (Louisiana)

Angela, was erroneously flagged by Equifax as a deceased person on her credit report. As a result of this error, Angela faced challenges in refinancing her home and obtaining credit. Equifax's inaccurate reporting not only led to financial hurdles but also caused emotional distress. We successfully helped Angela correct the errors and secure the damages she deserved.

David v. Equifax (Florida)

David, mistakenly reported as deceased, experienced severe consequences, including the loss of vital government benefits. The error affected his medical care and even complicated hospital check-ins. Despite correcting the issue with the financial department, David faced ongoing problems, impacting his ability to secure vehicle financing. Through our assistance, he received a cash settlement, allowing him to move forward.

Jerald v. Equifax (Colorado)

Jerald and his wife's dream of homeownership was shattered when an account error, reported as closed, caused a significant drop in Jerald's credit score. Equifax's failure to comply with the FCRA jeopardized Jerald’s mortgage approval, leading to a terminated home contract. Despite numerous challenges, we helped Jerald secure a substantial settlement, offering hope for realizing their dream of home ownership.

You Have Options

We’ve helped many people just like you. Every client is unique! We understand there is no one size fits all solution when discovering Equifax errors.

We are a nationwide firm and we have experienced attorneys who are ready to advocate for you! You can email us at info@consumerattorneys.com, fill out the online intake form, or chat with us LIVE via our virtual chat feature on our website.

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About the author
Daniel Cohen
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Daniel Cohen is a Founding Partner of Consumer Attorneys and a co-chair of Consumer Finance Litigation practice. Since 2017, he is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the National Consumer Law Center. Mr. Cohen is a nationally-recognized practitioner of consumer protection law. He has a wealth of proven legal experience in the US in: collective claims, representing visually impaired people who believe their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act have been violated in both the physical and digital environments, corporate governance and dispute resolution. Read more

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