The Work Number: Now Serving 3 Million Employers

April 02, 2024

This year, Equifax celebrates an important milestone: 3 million employers on The Work Number! Anyone who has leased an apartment, purchased or leased a car, or applied for a mortgage or government benefits has likely benefited from The Work Number’s automated digital verifications. 

The value to each consumer is made possible through their employers. In fact, the more employers that use The Work Number, the more people we can help to live their financial best. In 2023 alone, The Work Number fulfilled 144 million income and employment verifications on behalf of consumers - nearly 400,000 requests on any given day. 

To appreciate how we got here we must start with the beginning. . .

The History of The Work Number 

In 1995, The Work Number (TWN) was launched after a large employer realized their HR team was spending too much time responding to employee verification requests. When an employee applied for a loan, the HR team would have to spend time on the phone with the lender confirming income and employment information provided on the loan application. 

The Work Number (an actual phone number in the beginning) served as a more centralized resource verifiers could call to confirm income and employment information more efficiently and accurately. As the technology advanced from telephone to fax to the web, The Work Number grew in its ability to serve more employers. 

What began with one employer in 1995 expanded to 5,000 in 2015, then 50,000 in 2019, and over 3 million today. While The Work Number started as a service primarily for larger employers, it has grown and now serves millions of small- and medium-size businesses, thanks to multiple integrations with payroll and HR software providers. 

During The Work Number’s history of robust growth, it began to be used for verifications outside of lending. Employers and background screeners also became able to perform pre-employment verifications with The Work Number to help determine a candidate’s qualifications. In addition, government agencies began using The Work Number for social service verifications to help determine an applicant’s eligibility status for government benefits. 

How does reaching this milestone help people live their financial best?

With each additional employer using The Work Number, more people benefit from a more streamlined verification process in support of essential life events. Consumers often receive more convenient access to important financial and social services; employers spend less time completing verifications and being burdened with stacks of printouts, pay stubs, and inevitable games of phone tag and follow-up emails; and verifiers benefit from a more streamlined application process. 

Lending: Last year, The Work Number provided verifications for 6.8 million people seeking auto loans.* That’s 6.8 million people who did not have to delay their purchase because they couldn’t find (or forgot to bring) printed copies of their most recent paychecks to prove their income or have to reach out to their employer. In addition, a study showed that incorporating income and employment data from The Work Number can significantly expand auto loan access to more people, including subprime and deep subprime consumers, with interest rates typically only 2-4 percent higher. 

Pre-employment: The Work Number completed pre-employment verifications for 5.2 million job candidates last year*.  This means businesses can more easily confirm a candidate’s work history and qualifications, without having to contact the candidate’s current employer. This helps streamline the hiring process and can often help the candidate start to work faster.  

Government Services: In 2023, The Work Number provided income and employment verifications for 25 million people seeking government benefits*, often enabling agencies to help expedite their determination process and also help applicants gain access to right-sized benefits faster. Through The Work Number, millions of families did not have to spend time gathering the necessary income and employment information required to obtain these life-enhancing services. 

The Work Number: 3 Million and Beyond

We look forward to the continued growth and development of The Work Number. Adding additional employers enables us to help more people access the financing, benefits, and career moves they need to lead more fulfilling lives. The Work Number’s growth also allows us to help empower businesses and organizations to deliver a more streamlined approval and verification process, which thereby can help elevate their own client, candidate, and employee experiences.

To learn more about how The Work Number works for you and helps empower you through life’s pivotal moments, visit the Equifax Newsroom. 

*Based on Equifax data 2023.