Equifax sent incorrect credit scores to millions of customers

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Car loans, credit cards and even mortgage applications may have been affected.

Key points

  • The Equifax credit bureau sent millions of incorrect credit scores due to a coding issue.
  • Most were small changes, as less than 300,000 scores were changed by 25 points or more.
  • Consumers who believe they have been affected should contact their lenders to see what can be done.

Between March 17 and April 6, 2022, Equifax issued millions of incorrect credit scores to lenders. The error was reported by The Wall Street Journal then confirmed by Equifax last week.

Your credit score plays a huge role when applying for a loan or line of credit. Most of these incorrect scores were not different enough to have an impact, but some consumers may have received an incorrect loan decision due to the error.

What happened

According to Equifax, a coding issue affected how some of its credit scores were calculated from March 17 to April 6. The credit reporting agency confirmed that the issue was resolved on April 6 and that no information in anyone’s credit report had been changed. It is strictly the credit ratings that have been affected.

During this period, Equifax provided these inaccurate credit scores to lenders. This means that lenders may have used these scores to make decisions on:

Although there have been millions of inaccurate credit scores, Equifax reports that most scores haven’t changed much. In his analysis, he found that fewer than 300,000 consumers experienced a score change of 25 points or more.

If you’re wondering why this matters, it’s because small credit score differences generally wouldn’t affect a lender’s decision. For example, a credit score of 710 and a score of 715 are not significantly different from lenders. They are both in the same range and would most likely receive the same terms for a loan.

That still leaves plenty of consumers who could have been affected, however, and a class action lawsuit has been filed. Equifax works with the banks to determine the impact on the consumer, but you can also examine it for yourself.

How to check if you have been affected

To be clear, Equifax’s miscalculation only impacted the credit ratings it issued from March 17 to April 6. Some requests prior to March 17 may have been affected in the event of late subscription. But if you haven’t applied between mid-March and April 6, you’re safe.

If you applied for loans or credit cards and the lender used your Equifax score, this issue may have affected their decision. Start by reviewing the documentation you received for one of the following:

  • Adverse Action Notice: A letter sent by a lender if they deny a consumer’s request.
  • Risk-Based Print Notice: A letter sent by a lender if they approve a consumer’s application but grant them less favorable terms due to their credit history.

These letters are both required by law, and lenders are also required to include the information they used to make their decision. If a lender used your Equifax credit score as part of their decision, then they should include the score in their letter.

You can also check your credit report with Equifax. You are entitled to one free credit report from each credit reporting agency per year. Equifax credit reports can be requested on its website or at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Once you have your Equifax credit report, check to see if there were any serious credit inquiries between March 17 and April 6. This indicates that a lender or other third party has checked your credit with Equifax. If you find one, you may have received an incorrect score.

What to do next

If you think your application may have been denied or you received less favorable terms because of Equifax, contact the lender to see what can be done. You can also call Equifax at 1-888-378-4329. Its call center is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT, Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT, Saturday and Sunday.

Equifax should contact everyone involved directly, so keep an eye out for emails or letters.

It is certainly frustrating to see a credit bureau make such a colossal mistake. And since it’s likely influenced at least some loan decisions, it could end up being a complicated issue to sort out. For those who have been affected, the best option is to work with their lenders to see what can be done.

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