Equifax is one of the three largest credit reporting bureaus in the world, the others being Experian and TransUnion. Equifax was founded in 1899 as a retail credit company. It is the oldest of the three major credit reporting agencies.
|Address||1550 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30309|
|Fast Facts||– Founded in 1899|
– 800 million consumers, 88 millions businesses
– Annual Revenue: $3.3 Billion+
– Size: 9,000+ employees in 14 countries
– Equifax Complete Premier
– Equifax Complete Family Plan
– Equifax ID Patrol
– Score Watch
– Lock & Alert
– Digital Marketing
– I-9 Management
– Instatouch Suite
– Mitigate Account Opening Fraud
– Income/Employment Verifications
– Commercial Insight Suite
– Tax Credits and Incentives
– Work Number Alert
– IRS Income Verification
– FraudIQ Authenticate
– Informed Decisions
– Compliance Center
– Program Integrity
Equifax provides a range of credit risk assessment products and solutions for consumers, business, and government entities. They are best known for providing credit scores (normally FICO reports) and other critical data to potential lenders, employers, and others who are evaluating relationships with borrowers, employees, and other types of interactions.
For consumers, Equifax provides monthly subscriptions (about $20/month) that allow them to access their updated credit scores on a regular basis, and to monitor activity that happens on their accounts. In the large majority of cases, this information is reported based upon a person’s social security number.
Consumers can access reports from Equifax about their credit report and history by purchasing it directly from Equifax (links are included above to the various personal products offered by Equifax) or through a potential credit issuer, such as after they have applied for a loan. Usually, when a potential lender pulls a credit report, the credit information is shared with the person applying for the credit (loans, credit cards, lines of credit, etc.).
Many banks and credit card issuers have begun to present credit information, including FICO scores and factors that contribute to those scores, to their customers as a service. For instance, if you have a credit card account with Citi (Citigroup), you can login to your account and see your current FICO score, updated on a monthly basis.
Businesses use Equifax to protect themselves from fraud and other types of risk. Equifax’s spectrum of business offerings are intended to help businesses understand who they can confidently do business with as well as who they can trust to be part of their organizations.
The most common use of Equifax for business is the purchase of a credit report (which normally includes a person’s FICO score) by a lender, credit card issuer, or some other provider of credit. The FICO score and other credit report details allow the credit issuer to determine how much credit to give, at what interest rate, and on what terms.
Many of the major credit card issuers use Equifax to check credit, including MasterCard and Visa cards available from Citi, Chase, Barclaycard, American Express, and others.
Government agencies use Equifax products similar to how businesses use them, except that the data purchased by government agencies is often more tailored to compliance and other regulatory purposes.
Government customers of Equifax include the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Social Security Administration (SSA), and U.S. Postal Service (USPS). They use Equifax products to verify identities and protect against fraud.
Equifax 2017 Data Breach
In September of 2017, Equifax announced that it had experienced a major data breach, in which personal data (including names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers) of over 145 million US citizens were exposed to hackers during the time period from May to July of 2017. Data for consumers in the UK and Canada was also accessed by the hackers.
Equifax’s reputation for being secure took a hit because of the data breach, and it suffered losses that included expenses to repair damage done to those affected, besides losing market share. Equifax also lost contracts with government agencies and businesses over the data breach.
The 2017 Equifax data breach also brought into the public spotlight the issue of security of personal data in the possession of credit agencies and others who are given access to privileged data about consumers.