One of three credit reporting agencies, Equifax compiles both consumer and business credit information and assigns credit scores based on the financial information contained within the records. Credit reporting agencies Trans Union and Experian also compile consumer credit information and assign credit scores.
Equifax maintains credit information for over 600 million consumers and 80 million businesses in the United States and in 18 other countries. The company updates 158 billion credit scores each month. The information Equifax collects includes credit and loan repayments, bankruptcies, foreclosures and tax liens.
As of 2015, Equifax provides consumers with an 81-month record of credit activity grouped into two categories: open accounts and closed accounts. Consumers may dispute the information listed by contacting the company. As stated in the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers may also add a notation concerning the dispute to the credit report.
Equifax, Trans Union and Experian do not determine consumer or business creditworthiness. These companies only provide a record of the timeliness of payments, loan terms, number of open accounts and other financial information.
Lenders and other financial institutions use the information credit reporting companies collect to determine creditworthiness. For example, a bank typically lends funds to consumers with a history of repaying other loans and maintaining a good standing with credit card companies.