A credit report is important for both the lender and the borrower. To the lender, it shows the creditworthiness of the borrower. For the borrower, it helps them to keep a tab on their credit score and repayment record. Equifax is one such credit bureau that collects your credit information from participating lending institutions to build your credit score. 

The Equifax Credit Information Report contains a three digit number (between 300 – 900) that is a summary of the customer’s credit history. This score is generated based on the information provided by the financial institutions like banks or NBFCs. This report contains information regarding the customer’s history of credit payment across various loans and also institutions over a period of time. 

Building credit takes time, persistence and diligence. A few small mistakes (like late payments) along the way may trip up your credit score, but it's even worse when the errors that damage your credit score isn't even yours. When you find an error on your credit report it should be reported immediately for rectification. The process to resolve a dispute with Equifax is very simple. This article elucidates credit score disputes and how to resolve them with Equifax. 

When should you file a dispute with Equifax?

You can file for the following dispute rectifications with Equifax

Personal Information – any changes to your name, address, date of birth, etc. 

Account information you believe might be incorrect or inaccurate – Incorrect information like late payments show up on your report but you have always paid dues on time

Mixed credit files – If your report shows information for another individual with a similar name or bank account number. 

Duplicate reporting of an item – Any debt line item listed twice

If you have reasons to believe of identity theft or fraud – If you see any unauthorized credit accounts on your report, this might mean fraud or identity theft and should be reported

How it works?

Step 1: Check your credit report: In case you find any inaccuracies in your credit report or want to make changes to your personal information, you should contact Equifax. If the error is on the part of Equifax, then you need to submit a Dispute Resolution Form to get the error fixed. 

Step 2: You have to send the scanned copies of the form and the relevant documents via email to Equifax at - ecissupport@equifax.com. Please refer to the below list for the required documents

  1. Duly filled Dispute Resolution Form. You can download the form from the official Equifax website at https://www.equifax.co.in/consumer/forms/dispute_resolution/en_in. 

  2. Self-attested copies of the following supporting documents

List of identity proof documents (Any one):

  • Copy of Voters ID card

  • Copy of valid driving license

  • Copy of valid passport

  • Copy of PAN card

List of address proof documents (Any one):

  • Copy of electricity bill

  • Copy of landline telephone/mobile telephone bill

  • Copy of credit card / savings / current account / other bank account statement

  • Copy of gas utility bill

  • Copy of ration card

Step 3: Equifax will respond back to you within 30 days of submitting all the documents. They may either make the changes or inform you to contact the respective institution for further clarification. 

Guidelines for sending Dispute Resolution request to Equifax

  • All photo copies should be self-attested

  • ID card numbers and photographs should be clear and visible

  • All bills should be within 3 months from the current date

  • All ID proof documents with validity dates should be valid at the time of sending the request

  • The name and address on the documents should be of the requestor

  • The address should be clear and visible

How to prevent errors or disputes on your Equifax Credit Report?

A credit report has numerous implications in your loan applications. Hence, it is prudent to keep an eye out for any discrepancies on your credit report. Here are some points to remember when it comes to your credit reports

  1. Check your credit report regularly – As per RBI guidelines, you are entitled to one free credit report from a credit bureau in a single year. That means you can get 4 free credit reports from 4 different credit bureaus in India. Take advantage of this benefit and be updated with your credit report. If you find any discrepancies, report them to the bureau immediately

  2. Compare notes – All lenders might not report to all 4 credit bureaus. So, compare reports from all the credit bureaus to make sure if the discrepancies are errors or unavailability of information from the respective lenders. 

  3. Contact lender first for disputes in personal information – Credit bureaus’ main source of information is the lender. If you find any inaccuracies in information like name or address, consider contacting the lender first to make sure that they have the correct information. 

How is the credit score important for any individual? How are interest rates of banks and financial institutions linked with credit score?

A credit score is the main factor determining the individual's creditworthiness. For each financial phase and each financial decision, banks gauge your creditworthiness based on credit scores as part of their due diligence process. All loans, credit card payments, defaults, and much more make up the credit history from which the algorithm calculates the credit score. Consequently, the credit score reflects the extent of an individual's repayment capacity.

Banks and financial institutions submit the credit history of an individual to credit bureaus on a monthly basis. These credit scores are the decisive factor for banks to lend loans and also to decide on the terms and conditions for lending. Banks prefer borrowers with low outstanding balance, long credit history, and high credit score. So, the better the credit score, the better the interest rates and vice versa for lower credit score. To get loans at better terms, one must monitor his credit profile and make efforts to maintain a good credit score. 

Bottomline: Credit score is an important aspect of your financial management. You cannot allow inaccuracies and incorrect information to hamper your chances of a good loan offer. Keep up to date with your credit score and dispute it with the credit bureau if you find any discrepancies.