What Equifax Credit Score Errors Mean for Consumers

Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, announced that during the three weeks between March 17th and April 6th, a computer coding error caused a consumer’s credit score to be calculated incorrectly. 25 points. Equifax said in a press release that the credit score change did not show up on its credit report.

Errors have shifted your score both positive and negative, but a 25-point drop in your credit score can cost you a lot of money, especially if you’re on the top of one of your credit bands. For some consumers, this could mean less access to financial services and products, such as auto and mortgage loans, and better credit cards.

NerdWallet spoke with credit experts and consumer advocates to clarify what to do in the wake of this Equifax error.

How to check if you have been affected

It may not be easy to determine if you have been affected by this Equifax error. “With the naked eye, consumers will not be able to tell, for better or worse, that they have been affected,” credit expert John Urzheimer said in his email.

Equifax says it is “working with customers to determine the actual impact on consumers,” but it is unclear when or how it will notify affected customers.

“This is not the consumer’s responsibility,” says Chi Chi Wu, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center. “And it’s outrageous that Equifax’s error hurt consumers. Now they have to go back and fix it.”

Follow these steps to protect your scores after an Equifax error.

Check all notifications related to rejected applications during this period

If you applied for a car, mortgage, or credit card between March 17th and April 6th and your application was rejected or you had to pay an additional fee (due to a miscalculation of this score) ), the following documentation:

Adverse Action Notice: If your application was denied, you should have received an adverse action notice. Federal law requires creditors to tell you why your application was denied and from which agency they got their information. So it’s important to review this letter to better understand if the coding error affected you.

“If you get a denial because of what’s on your credit report, it’s worth going back and getting a copy of your credit report and credit score if it’s somehow related to your credit score. said Bruce McClary, senior vice president of communications for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. It’s also worth “looking at the credit his score the creditor used to value you,” he says.

Risk-based price notification: If you applied for a loan or credit card during this period and were given adverse terms (such as a higher interest rate), you should have received a risk-based pricing notice.

If a consumer applies for a credit card or loan during this time and doesn’t receive one of these two notices, Ulzheimer says, “they won’t be denied, nor will they be approved on unfavorable terms. was”.

Check your EQUIFAX credit report

Checking your credit report should be your next step. This “hard pull” confirms that she applied for credit during her three-week period in which no errors were detected by Equifax.

The incorrectly calculated score does not appear on your credit report and Equifax cannot dispute the error. “Equifax’s credit report contained no errors that required investigation and correction,” Ulzheimer said. “This was a programming error and was unaffected by how the consumer acted or paid the bill.”

Contact the lender and EQUIFAX

If you are affected, please contact your lender and ask them to re-evaluate your application or loan terms.

According to Wu, changing credit card interest rates is easier than changing the terms of a mortgage or car loan.

If you believe you have been affected, please call Equifax Customer Service at 1-888-378-4329.

Please wait for a message from EQUIFAX

Stay tuned for future communications from Equifax. “The responsibility lies with the credit bureaus to notify those affected and to provide some course of action that people can take to address any issues arising from this incident,” McCrary said.


This article originally appeared on the personal finance website NerdWallet. Amanda Barroso and Lauren Schwahn are writers for her NerdWallet. Email: abarrosonerdwallet.com, lschwahnnerdwallet.com. Twitter: lauren_schwahn.

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