To fast forward to a particular section of this glossary of credit terms, click on a letter below for terms beginning with:


Ad networks: Many of the banner ads displayed on Web pages are not selected and delivered by the site you visit, but by network advertising companies ("ad networks") that manage and provide advertising for numerous unrelated websites. Ad networks may place or recognize a unique cookie, sometimes called a third party cookie, on your browser when serving advertising on a site. Ad networks use cookies to understand Web usage patterns of people who see advertisements, control the sequence of advertisements you see, provide you with the most relevant advertising, and make sure you don't see the same ad too many times. Ad networks recognize their own cookies whenever you visit a site that participates in the network, so advertisements served by ad networks are based on your behavior on multiple sites.

Affiliate: any company that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with another company

Aggregated, non-personal information: Information that is recorded about users and collected into groups so that it does not allow you to be identified or contacted. Examples of aggregate information are: number of users who visited a particular page of the website during a day or the number of registered users with a particular ZIP code. Websites may use aggregate data or share it with their business partners so the information or services they provide best meet the needs of their users. Aggregate information also helps advertisers and sponsors to know how effectively they are reaching and meeting the needs of their target audience.


Browser:Short for Web browser, a browser is a software application used to locate and display Web pages. Popular browsers include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Apple Safari.


Census data: Census data is demographic, social and economic information about a population. Examples are household income, presence and age(s) of children, presence and age(s) of elderly parents, and size and value of dwellings.

Contractors: Contractors are vendors, suppliers and contracted individuals that provide companies with technology, services, and/or content for the operation and maintenance of their sites. These contractors sometimes have access to personal information in the course of assisting in operating our business and providing products or services.

Cookies: Cookies are small text files that are sent to your browser and stored on your computer's hard drive. Cookies are placed by a site or by a third party with a presence on this site, such as an advertiser or a web site optimization service. Cookies can be used to customize services, personalize features, target advertising and remember your site preferences. You can set your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent to your computer.


Demographic information: This is unique information about - or attributes of - a user or users (e.g., age, gender, education level, income, geographic location, or interests) that is not by itself personal information and is not connected to personal information.


Encryption: The scrambling of information into a private code. To read an encrypted file, you must have access to a secret key or password that enables you to decrypt it. Data can be encrypted to ensure secure transmission. Data can also be encrypted for storage to prevent unauthorized parties from reading it.


Internet Protocol (IP) address: All devices linked to the Internet are assigned a unique identifier called an IP address. IP addresses are used like street addresses so other computers can locate them. As a general rule, the IP address is written as four numbers separated by periods: e.g.,


Log files: Log files are an automatic record of site activity and may be used for Web analytics to gather and assess statistics.


Material change: A change in a site's privacy practices that relates to the site's (1) practices regarding notice, disclosure, and use of personal information and/or third party personal information; (2) practices regarding user choice and consent to how personal information and/or third party personal information is used and shared; or (3) measures for data security, integrity, or access.

Member Center: Member Center is the online channel through which you can purchase or access your Personal Solution Products. You can also access your free annual credit report disclosure for 30 by registering as a Member of Equifax Personal Solutions.


Non-affiliated third party: means any entity that is not an affiliate of, or related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control with, the financial institution.

Non-personal information: Information that cannot be used to identify an individual. For example, information such as gender, age, city and state when not linked with other personal information.

Nonpublic personal information: In the context of a financial transaction, nonpublic personal information is defined under the US Federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to mean personally identifiable financial information provided by a consumer to a financial institution; resulting from any transaction with the consumer or any service performed for the consumer; or otherwise obtained by the financial institution. Nonpublic personal information also includes any grouping or list of consumers derived from nonpublic personal information. It does not include public personal information. Examples of nonpublic personal information include Social Security Number, driver's license number, credit card number, and similar information.


Online Behavioral Advertising (OBA): An approach to advertising that selects online ads on the basis of information about an individual's online activities combined with other information. The intent is to show ads for products or offers that better match site visitor interests.

Opt-in: Giving permission for an organization to collect or use information in a specific way.

Opt-out: Withdrawing permission for an organization to collect or use information in a specific way.


Password: A secret series of characters typically made up of both letters and numbers, chosen by a user to access a website or service. Ideally, the password should be something that is difficult to guess but easy for you to remember. In practice, many people choose a password that is easy to remember, such as their name, a child's name or a common word from the dictionary, and one that is also easy for someone else to guess or to find by trying several possibilities. Easy passwords are one reason it is relatively easy to break into many computer accounts.

Persistent cookie: A persistent cookie remains on your hard drive after you close your browser. Persistent cookies are used to remember you and your preferences from session to session. Many persistent cookies have an expiration date and are automatically deleted when that date is reached.

Personally identifiable information (PII): Personally identifiable information is information that can be used to identify you, such as your name, home address, telephone number, mobile number, email address, billing information. If other pieces of information are linked to PII, they also become PII.

Privacy policy: The statement on a website of what information is collected by the site, how it will be used, with whom it will be shared, and options to control how the information will be used.

Promotional Code: A code provided to you to enable you to obtain access to Equifax products or services on special terms, such as reduced price or for a trial period.


Session cookie: A session cookie is automatically deleted by your browser when you close the browser.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer): SSL technology uses encryption to protect information that is sent over the Internet between your computer and our servers, helping to ensure that your information remains confidential. By convention, URLs that utilize an SSL connection start with "https," instead of "http."

Spyware: Spyware is a program or technology that gathers information about a computer user, often without his or her knowledge, and sends this information in the background to someone else. Spyware includes programs like hijackers and keyloggers. The best way to identify whether or not spyware is installed on your computer is to run and regularly update antispyware programs. Similar to antivirus software, antispyware software identifies and helps you remove spyware.


Third party cookie: A cookie that is placed by a party other than the site being viewed. Typically, advertisers who are trying to gather data on general consumer Web use place such cookies.

Third party personal information: This is personal information provided by someone other than the person to whom it pertains or whom it identifies.


URL: Acronym for Universal Resource Locator. It is the address of an organization or individual on the World Wide Web. For example:


Virus: A program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge and runs against your wishes. Viruses can also "replicate" themselves by copying their code to other computers. All computer viruses are manmade. A simple virus that can make a copy of itself over and over again is relatively easy to produce. Even such a simple virus is dangerous because it will quickly use all available memory and bring the system to a halt. An even more dangerous type of virus is one capable of transmitting itself across networks and bypassing security systems. There are numerous virus protection programs available.


Web beacon: A Web beacon consists of a small string of software code that represents a request for a graphic image on a Web page or email. There may or may not be a visible graphic image associated with the Web beacon, and often the image is designed to blend into the background of a Web page or email. Web beacons can be used for many purposes - to generate log files for site traffic reporting, count unique visitors, audit and report on advertising, personalize the page being viewed, deliver a cookie or a downloadable application, and determine the rate at which recipients open email communications. A Web beacon may be controlled by the site you are visiting or by another party whose code was added directly to the code of the website or the e-mail. Third parties that place Web beacons include advertising networks, site optimization companies, and online marketing companies. Web beacons may be used to collect Personal Information or may be linked to an e-mail address or other information identifying the person who is viewing the web page or opening the e-mail.

Website optimization: Also known as search engine optimization, website optimization is the modification of the website in order to improve its natural (or unpaid) ranking in search engine results. Consumers generally tend to visit web sites that appear near the top of their web search results, so website optimization makes our site easier to find through search.