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A credit report contains information about your credit card and loan history, including how you make your payments and how much debt you have, and it may contain records of action taken against you because of outstanding bills.
Lenders, employers, landlords and other service providers buy your credit information in the form of a credit report to help them decide whether to approve your application for a loan, credit card, job or housing, or to offer you a product or service at a particular rate.
Equifax is one of the leading credit reporting agencies in the United States. The other two major credit bureaus are Experian and TransUnion. Each credit agency maintains information about your credit history.
While all consumers are eligible for one annual free credit report from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, it's important that you review your credit information regularly to check its accuracy, as these 3-bureau credit reports change constantly. Equifax credit monitoring products can help monitor and protect your credit by alerting you of any changes to your credit report.
Your Credit Report from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion includes the following information:
Personal information compiled from credit applications you've filled out. This information normally includes your name, current and recent addresses, Social Security number, date of birth, and current and previous employers.
Credit history. The bulk of your credit report consists of details about credit accounts that were opened in your name or that list you as an authorized user (such as a spouse's credit card). Account details, which are supplied by creditors with which you have an account, include the date the account was opened, the credit limit or amount of the loan, the payment terms, the balance, and a history that shows whether or not you've paid the account on time. Closed or inactive accounts, depending on the manner in which they were paid, stay on your report for 7 to 11 years from the date of their last activity.
Credit report inquiries. Credit reporting agencies record an inquiry whenever your credit report is shown to another party, such as a lender, service provider, landlord or insurer. Inquiries remain on your credit report for up to two years.
Public records. Matters of public record obtained from government sources such as courts of law — including liens, bankruptcies and overdue child support — may appear on your credit report. Most public record information stays on your credit report for 7 years.
Your 3-bureau credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion do not include information about your checking or savings accounts, bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old, charged-off or debts placed for collection that are more than 7 years old, gender, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, medical history or criminal record. Also, your credit score is generated by information on your credit report, but is not part of the report itself.
Your credit score is a mathematical model designed to predict credit risk, based on data contained within your credit file. Lenders typically review this type of information to determine whether to extend credit, and on what terms. A higher score usually means you pose a lower risk to the lender, who will, in turn, be more likely to offer you favorable interest rates.
Your score is based on the Equifax Credit Score model — a proprietary formula using the information from your Equifax credit file. It's a numerical value ranging from 280-850, with the higher value representing lower credit risk. And, as the information contained in your credit files changes over time, so might any new scores based on your data. Your credit score from a month ago may have changed if there has been any recent activity on your credit file. A number of factors can affect your credit score, including:
Lenders may use other credit scoring models to determine creditworthiness, so your actual number could vary when shopping a new loan. However, most models consider similar factors and share a common theme — generally, the higher your score, the lower risk you present to lenders.