On August 2, 2022, Equifax—one of the country's three major credit reporting bureaus—announced it had incorrectly calculated the credit scores of millions of consumers. This error might have prevented you from getting a mortgage or another kind of loan, or cost you thousands of dollars because the lender gave you a higher interest rate than you deserved.
Equifax says a coding error resulted in inaccurate credit scores for millions of consumers during a three-week timeframe. (But Equifax says the problem didn't affect the information in people's credit reports.)
According to Equifax, the credit scores it released from March 17, 2022 to April 6, 2022, could have been erroneous. Equifax corrected the issue on April 6.
An alert from Freddie Mac on June 2, 2022, said that Equifax told the agency about 12% of all credit scores released between these dates could have been wrong.
And Equifax confirmed that this computer error led to around 300,000 scores being off by at least 25 points, which might have led to wrongful credit denials.
Equifax says most people's scores weren't affected and only a small number received a different credit decision as a result of the miscalculation. But a class action lawsuit filed in Georgia on August 3, 2022 asserts that millions of consumers' scores were affected and seeks reimbursement.
Here's what you can do to find out if Equifax's credit scoring error might have affected you.
1. Ask yourself, did you apply for credit during the affected period? First, determine whether you applied for credit during the affected timeframe—March 17, 2022 to April 6, 2022.
2. Next, check your Equifax credit report for a hard inquiry by the lender. If you did apply for a loan or some other form of credit during that window of time, go to annualcreditreport.com. Get a copy of your Equifax credit report and find out if your lender made a hard inquiry then. (A "hard inquiry" happens when you apply for credit and the lender looks at your credit history to determine whether to lend you money or give you credit.)
3. If yes, your lender did make a hard inquiry with Equifax, did you get an adverse action notice? Even if you find that Equifax gave your score to your lender, the number might not have been inaccurate enough to change your loan terms. So, check to see if you received an adverse action notice or risk-based pricing notice from the lender or creditor saying that you were denied or you got a higher interest rate.
4. Compare your Equifax score to your other credit scores. Next, compare your Equifax credit score provided in that notice to those from Experian and TransUnion to see if they differ by a significant amount. (The Fair Credit Reporting Act generally requires adverse action notices and risk-based pricing notices to include the member's credit score if one was used in taking an adverse action.) If they do, contact the lender and Equifax to address the matter.
This process might sound like a lot of work. But possibly getting approved for a loan after an initial denial or receiving a lower interest rate that will save you lots of money makes it worth your time and effort.
Effective date: August 2, 2022