Equifax Sent Out Incorrect Credit Scores for Millions of Customers

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

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

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 and then confirmed by Equifax last week.

Your credit score plays a huge role when you apply for any sort of loan or line of credit. Most of these incorrect scores weren't different enough to make an impact, but some consumers could have received an incorrect lending decision based on the mistake.

What happened

According to Equifax, a coding issue impacted how some of its credit scores were calculated from March 17 to April 6. The credit reporting agency has confirmed that the issue was fixed on April 6, and that no information in anyone's credit report was changed. It was strictly credit scores that were affected.

During that time frame, Equifax provided these inaccurate credit scores to lenders. That means lenders may have used these scores when making decisions on:

Although there were millions of inaccurate credit scores, Equifax reports that most scores didn't change much. In its analysis, it found that less than 300,000 consumers experienced a score shift of 25 points or more.

If you're wondering why that matters, it's because small credit score differences typically wouldn't affect a lender's decision. For example, a credit score of 710 and a score of 715 aren't materially different to lenders. They're both in the same range, and they'd most likely receive the same terms on a loan.

That still leaves plenty of consumers who could have been affected, however, and a class action lawsuit has been filed. Equifax is working with banks to determine the consumer impact, but you can also look into it on your own.

How to check if you were affected

To be clear, the Equifax miscalculation only impacted credit scores it issued from March 17 to April 6. There may be some applications from before March 17 that were affected if there was an underwriting delay. But if you didn't apply for anything from mid-March to April 6, you're safe.

If you did apply for any loans or credit cards and the lender used your Equifax score, this issue may have impacted its decision. Start by reviewing documentation you received for one of the following:

  • Adverse action notice: A letter sent by a lender if it denies a consumer's application.
  • Risk-based printing notice: A letter sent by a lender if it approves a consumer's application but gives 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 its decision, then it must include the score in its letter to you.

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

Once you have your Equifax credit report, see if there were any hard credit inquiries from March 17 to April 6. This indicates that a lender or another third party checked your credit with Equifax. If you find one, there's a chance an incorrect score was issued for you.

What to do next

If you think you could have been denied on an application or 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 reach out directly to everyone who was affected, so keep an eye out for emails or letters.

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

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