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What is Equifax?
According to the company website, Equifax is in the business of empowering companies and consumers with information that is trustworthy. They believe in a strong heritage of historical leadership and contemporary innovation. They accumulate unique data using advanced proprietary analytics and advanced technologies which in turn serves to improve business performance and contribute to the lives of customers.
What does that really say? On the consumer level – the one we are really concerned with – Equifax stores important financial information about each one of us. They then provide concise reports to subscribers, and provide credit ratings to potential lenders and creditors. They do all of this in a way that is useful to each of us, regardless of our financial priorities and history.
On a personal level, this is important to each of us because it helps determine what we will pay for things. Anything that must be financed (and these days, that’s everything from a car to a home, to vacations or major purchases that we pay for over time. The better our credit rating, the less interest we will pay on outstanding balances. Long term, this means we pay less than others who may have worse credit scores.
What is an Equifax Credit Report?
Equifax is a leading credit reporting agency in the U.S., they are the top agency out of three. (The other two are Experian and TransUnion.) Each of the 3 credit reporting agencies keep a credit file about with your information and your credit history. The information is collected from a lot of different types of sources, including anyone who has ever extended credit to you. Creditors and lenders routinely report back to the reporting agency so as to keep your file current and reliable.
So Who Sees My Credit Report?
Any company that you apply for credit to will review your credit report from one or more of the Big 3 reporting agencies. Besides the obvious lenders such as banks, mortgage lenders, finance companies and credit card companies – employers, landlords and utility services may also look at your credit report files.
What About Other Credit Reporting Agencies?
Equifax is the industry leader in credit reporting and credit scoring. The other two leading providers of credit file data are Experian and TransUnion. They all have their own criteria for reporting and issuing a credit score.
When you are monitoring or checking your credit, you really don’t get the full picture unless you look at all 3 credit bureaus. Fortunately, Equifax makes it easy to see all three reports and compare them side by side. Use the Equifax 3-in-1 Credit Report and see how each of the credit files rate your credit history.
First, Equifax has been in business for more than 100 years – longer than any other company in the field. No company lasts that long without being a pillar of trust and reliability. They have the largest data collections and are global leaders in information technology solutions.
More recently, Equifax has grown to provide monitoring and identity theft protection services as well. This is only natural in response to the growing trends of identity theft. Equifax empowers customers with the ability to easily manage their own personal credit information so they can optimize their financial concerns.
Equifax employs thousands of people in many countries including North America, Europe and Latin America. They are headquartered in Atlanta GA USA and is a member of S&P 500 Index on the NYSE.
All that to say, they are reliable company that has a lot to lose if they don’t put your best interests first. So you can be sure to trust a company with such integrity and customer focus.
What is the difference between a credit report and a credit score?
As described previously, a credit report has broad information about you personally, about your credit history and your current outstanding debt. It provides very specific data about your payment records, closed credit accounts, how long you’ve had certain types of credit, and so on.
Your credit score is basically a number from a scale, that is a quick glance overview of your creditworthiness. The better your score, the less of a credit risk you are and the more likely you are to qualify for a loan or get a better interest rate on your credit cards and loans.
The part that gets confusing for most people is that each of the reporting agencies has it’s own scale and standard for rating your credit score. As a result, the score is very likely to be different unless you have perfect credit.
Credit scores are not all the same. Click through to learn the difference between FICO score and your equifax credit score.
How To Get Immediate Access to Your Online Credit Report
Before we had immediate online access to nearly everything, we had to depend and wait on the mail to arrive before we could see a credit report or get a credit score. Thanks to the internet, we now benefit from instant online access to financial information including your credit report. Today you can even get instant texts on your phone when a significant change is made to your file.
One thing you should know is that you are allowed to see your credit report for free, once a year – and you should! You can sign up for the report at annualcreditreport.com and review your report. Keep in mind, this is a one-time report and you won’t be able to monitor changes to your credit file, nor will you be able to apply an equifax promotion code.
As I mentioned you should definitely get your free copy, but also consider taking control of your credit and actually monitoring it as it changes on a monthly basis. This way you can see how certain actions will impact your credit one way or the other.
If you have never done so before, you should get an Equifax 3 in 1 Report to see how you look to potential creditors and lenders. Do this now before you actually need credit for a major purchase. Don’t wait until you need the credit, start building and improving your credit today. You’ll be glad you did.
How to Compare Your Credit History with the Big 3
Once you have an initial look at your score and credit report, you can begin to monitor your credit. The best way to keep an eye on new entries is to use a monthly credit monitoring service, which also gives you ongoing anytime access to your credit report.
Tip: Choose one of the Equifax Complete plans to get comprehensive coverage. For less than $20 a month you get full access to all of your credit reports and scores, PLUS identity theft protection, change alerts sent to email or your phone, theft insurance and more. Currently the plans that include these benefits are Equifax Complete Premier and Equifax Complete Advantage – both are excellent plans and you just can’t beat 60 cents per day for full protection and access.
It just makes sense to have that kind of control over your credit file. There was a time when this sort of subscription service cost well over $100 per month – now it’s just a fraction of that.
Not taking advantage of a complete plan is sort of like driving just using the rear view mirror. You can see where you’ve been but you don’t have a sense of where you are going. It’s safer to be able to see ahead and know where you are going.
How to Know When your Credit Report Changes
Of course you want to know when lenders report your payments, or inquire to your credit status. Anytime they do so, a change is made to your file and will be reported the next time you check your credit. Equifax makes it easy to see when changes are made because you can get alerts sent to you via email or SMS on your phone.
Basically whenever a significant change is made to your Equifax credit reports, you will get an alert. You can then login to see what changes have been made, and by whom. You can also sign up for fraud alerts that will notify you of any suspicious activity that could result in some sort of identity theft.