Many consumers have heard of Equifax. However, there are a few little known facts that most consumers are not aware of about them.
Equifax was established in 1898 by two brothers, Cator and Guy Woolford. Cator was first introduced to credit reporting when he worked for a grocer. He compiled a list of customers for the Retail Grocer’s Association with indications of their creditworthiness. It was not long before he started to sell the book with this information and made credit reporting his new business. His brother Guy was a lawyer. The two decided to launch their new business in Atlanta, where the company is still headquartered today.
In 2013, the company reported annual revenues of $2.3 billion. Equifax currently operates in 24 countries, including countries in North America, Central America, South America, the Asia Pacific and Europe. It analyzes and organizes data on more than 800 million consumers. It also analyzes and organizes data pertinent to more than 88 million businesses across the globe.
Although Equifax had humble beginnings and evolved from an insurance-related business to a consumer reporting agency, it is now one of the largest credit bureaus in the United States. While the company boasts positive reviews from its employees as evidenced by being named a Top Workplace by the Atlanta Journal Constitution (2013-2015), consumers have not always been as pleased with the company. Fearing inaccurate information would become part of a consumer’s official credit report, consumers and lawmakers pushed for protection from this potentially negative scenario, ultimately establishing the Fair Credit Reporting Act in 1970.
Equifax has been fined twice by the Federal Trade Commission for violations of the FCRA. It has also been sued by civil litigants for violations of the act.