What is Equifax?
Equifax is one of the three major credit reporting agencies, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Formerly known as the Retail Credit Company (which was the name back in 1899 when the company was founded), it is an organization commonly used by insurers and lenders to obtain information on their applicants credit history.
Equifax, much like the other two big credit reporting agencies (Experian and Trans Union), now market their credit reports directly to consumers. Which is good news for consumers, because now anyone can view their credit report as a potential lender would see it.
What is an Equifax Credit Report?
An Equifax Credit Report is a compilation of credit reporting data from many sources. It is delivered instantly online after your identity is confirmed, and you also have the option of printing it out if needed. You can also get your Equifax Credit Score (FICO Score) along with your report for only a few bucks more.
Is an Equifax Credit Report the same as all other credit reports?
In many ways, yes it is very similar, but not exactly the same. All lenders don’t always report to all three major credit bureaus. Some only report your payment history and balances to one or two of the major bureaus, so it is important to check all three agencies to thoroughly review your credit history, and to check for errors or signs of identity theft in your credit report. Your report from each bureau will usually differ slightly from the next.
I personally like Equifax’s Score Power Product. It’s a good, quick and inexpensive way to view your Equifax Credit Report and FICO Score for one price. There are no recurring fees associated with this service, just a one time charge of $15.95 (price as of March 2008) gets you both the credit report and FICO credit score. I personally check my credit report and FICO score at least 4 times per year, and I ALWAYS check it right before I make any big purchases that require obtaining a loan, like buying a new car.
There’s two reasons I do this:
1. I always like to view my credit report and score before a potential lender does, just in case there’s a problem that went unnoticed up to that point, which might need fixing.
2. I like to make sure my credit score is what it should be, so I can make sure I get the best possible terms and interest rate on the loan.
Of course nobody likes paying interest on a depreciating asset such as a car or truck, but I’d rather check my credit score and make sure it hasn’t dropped below 720, and pay 3.9% on that loan… instead of going to the dealer and finding out that your score isn’t quite as high as you thought, and end up leaving with the same loan, but with 6.9% interest! Of course this is just an example, but you get the idea.
• Official Equifax Website (opens new window)