Enabling New Financial Opportunity through Responsible AI Innovation

June 27, 2024

Equifax believes that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help more people get access to financial products and services. Our more than 1,000 analytics professionals around the world have been driving AI innovation for nearly a decade, anticipating the financial services industry’s evolving challenges by innovating for today and tomorrow.

Infusing our patented AI techniques in product development and delivery helps enable customers to get to insights faster by solving complex problems and introducing new methods of modeling that can ultimately unlock greater financial opportunity for more people. We are harnessing the power of AI and advanced data science to help people live their financial best.  

Guiding industry innovation in AI

In 2012, “deep learning” neural network architecture technology – a form of machine learning (ML) – advanced enough to almost match a human’s ability to recognize images of objects. Around that time, Equifax began exploring the potential benefits of AI and ML technology on credit decisioning. 

Since then, we have played a prominent role in driving responsible AI innovation across our industry.

In 2015, we developed an industry standard for Explainable AI (xAI), introducing the first machine learning credit scoring system with the ability to generate logical and actionable reasons that explain how a specific credit score was determined. xAI is critical for helping ensure that AI models and scores surface the correct and most appropriate information for lenders to make credit decisions, while providing consumers with transparency around their credit scores.

As of March 2024, Equifax has 90+ approved patents supporting our approach to AI, with more than 130 patents pending, including those for xAI techniques such as neural networks, gradient boosted machines, and random forests. Leveraging AI and ML techniques like these can help solve complex problems and introduce new modeling methods that can ultimately help create greater financial opportunities for more people.

Equifax is driving further AI innovation by incorporating AI techniques in model development when Equifax research indicates that the inclusion of AI will help increase the predictive outcome of the model.  As an example, our patent-pending Bayesian technique enables multi-data risk model development, which significantly improves model quality. 

In addition, we built Equifax IgniteⓇ to accelerate data-driven decision-making by combining data, analytics, and technology into one cloud-based ecosystem. Equifax Ignite leverages a central component of the Equifax Cloud, our custom data fabric –  an adaptable structure that unifies our differentiated data (from over 100 siloed data sources) while also enabling us to manage that data in keeping with regulatory requirements.

AI capabilities are embedded within the Equifax Cloud, allowing us to build insights from significantly greater amounts of data – helping lenders, service providers and government agencies to make more holistic decisions and open financial opportunities to otherwise underserved populations. 

See how alternative data and AI help drive financial opportunity

A culture of AI innovation

Innovation can’t happen without innovators. We are committed to developing our people and our culture with an emphasis on curiosity, creativity, and data-driven research. Our global analytics professionals are continuously looking for ways to use Equifax technology and AI to advance financial wellness for more people. We celebrate these innovators on our patent wall, a visual representation of decades of innovation.

In addition, we have created a collaborative environment that works in partnership with academic institutions and tech companies to further our responsible AI research and development in ways that benefit customers, consumers, and the industry at large. Our global innovation team and our U.S. Innovation X Lab work with the world’s leading technology companies to co-create customized game-changing advances that solve immediate and long-term consumer and societal needs.

We also partner with 10+ colleges and universities around the world, providing Equifax data and expertise to jointly uncover new insights while developing data and analytics talent for the future. All told, these partnerships have generated five patent applications and more than 30 completed research projects to date.

Equifax participates in research labs at the following universities:

These partnerships also address the real-world effects of technology, as we work to establish methods that will help identify how AI-powered processes may create different outcomes than traditional models and the potential impact of these differences. Everywhere we do business, Equifax is committed to enabling the inclusive financial opportunities that move people forward.

Fostering responsible AI innovation

We are committed to using AI in a responsible and trustworthy manner - in accordance with our shared corporate values - and maintain the core principle that data and solutions we create must strive to be free from bias and not create unintended consequences for consumers.