Equifax is one of the nation’s three major credit bureaus. The company utilizes information collected from creditors and data analytics to provide credit reports for businesses and consumers. Businesses use Equifax’s credit reports to calculate credit scores and decide who to extend credit to. There are some key differences between Equifax’s credit reports and other bureaus.
What Is Equifax?
Equifax is one of three major credit bureaus in the United States. The company was founded in 1899 in Atlanta, Georgia, by two brothers, Cator and Guy Woolford. Equifax was originally called the Retail Credit Company, and the company produced a “Merchant’s Guide” that reflected business owners’ comments about their customers’ payment habits. The company also offered individual credit reports.
Since then, Equifax has grown into a global data, analytics and technology company. Equifax employs roughly 13,000 people in 25 countries and generated $4.9 billion in revenue in 2021.
Equifax still provides credit reporting to businesses and has expanded to serve a wide range of industries, including the automotive, healthcare, fintech, insurance, manufacturing and housing industries. The agency offers data-driven marketing services to help businesses find and grow their customer base. Equifax also provides credit risk assessment, identity verification, workforce management and fraud protection services.
Additionally, Equifax offers some credit-related services to individuals. Consumers can purchase credit monitoring and identity theft protection plans. With Equifax’s online Consumer Services Center, individuals can control their personal finances by accessing their free credit report, placing a freeze on their credit, getting fraud alerts or submitting a dispute with their credit file.
How Does Equifax Collect Your Information?
Like all credit bureaus, Equifax collects credit information on consumers from creditors. These creditors could be banks, insurance companies, auto finance companies or credit card companies.
Creditors are not legally required to report to Equifax or other credit bureaus. But if a creditor does choose to report information, it must adhere to certain guidelines, such as reporting on a regular monthly schedule.
Credit bureaus also collect information from public records, including property and court records. The sources Equifax collects its information from may not be the same as other credit reporting agencies, which is one reason why your credit report and credit score might be different at different credit bureaus.
What Does Equifax Do With Your Information?
Equifax uses the information it collects to generate credit reports. The reports are then sold to banks, credit unions, insurance companies, lenders, landlords and other financial institutions.
These organizations use the credit bureau’s reports to make informed decisions about whether to extend credit to customers. This is why maintaining good credit is so important; a poor credit report can make it difficult to secure a loan, buy a house, get good rates on insurance or even find a place to rent.
Equifax’s credit reports are also used by companies that generate credit scores. The two most widely used credit score brands in the United States are the FICO score and VantageScore.
The FICO score was developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation. There are different versions of the FICO score that use different scoring models. Some FICO score models use information from Equifax, and some are based on information from other credit bureaus.
VantageScore is a credit scoring model developed by the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Because it was created by these three agencies, the VantageScore model calculates credit scores using information from all three credit bureaus, as opposed to FICO scores which only use data from one of the credit reporting agencies.
Equifax vs. Other Credit Bureaus
Equifax, like the other credit reporting agencies, produces credit reports for consumers and businesses. If you request a credit report from all three bureaus, you might notice some key differences in the reports.
An Equifax credit report will summarize all the open and closed credit accounts associated with the consumer, separating them into two groups based on their status. This differs from reports from Experian and TransUnion, which group all the open and closed accounts together and list them alphabetically.
Another feature of Equifax credit reports is an 81-month credit history for each credit account. If the account has been closed or paid, such as a loan that has been paid off, the credit report will state, “No 81-Month Payment Data available for display.”
Besides these differences, an Equifax credit report will likely contain very similar information to a report from another bureau. All credit reports should have a summary of the consumer’s personal information, any open credit accounts, recent credit inquiries and information from public records such as tax liens or bankruptcies.
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