Spanish Credit Reports Could Be a Boon to Hispanic Community

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Language barriers shouldn't prevent people from keeping tabs on their credit.

There's a reason consumers are advised to review their credit reports regularly. Checking those reports once every four months or so is a good way for people to manage their personal finances and preserve their credit scores. Just as importantly, reviewing credit reports can alert consumers to fraudulent activity, thereby prompting them to take action to avoid financial losses.

For those who aren't fluent in English, understanding a credit report can be a big challenge. But now, Spanish speakers may have an easier time getting access to the financial information they need.

Credit reports now available in Spanish

In September, Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting bureaus, began offering credit reports in Spanish. It's the first bureau to take this important step, and it's a move that could help many more consumers keep better track of their finances and credit histories.

There are an estimated 62 million people in the U.S. of Hispanic origin, and more than 40 million speak Spanish as their first language. So catering to the broad Hispanic community certainly makes a lot of sense.

An essential financial tool

Having good credit could open the door to different opportunities -- the ability to qualify for a mortgage, get a new credit card, or take out a personal loan. Now interestingly, the one piece of information consumers can't access via their credit reports is their actual credit score. To get that, consumers often need to check if their banks or credit card companies offer that service, or otherwise buy their score for a modest fee.

But still, a credit report can contain a host of key information, including the following:

  • Payment history, which speaks to whether consumers are timely with their bills or have past due bills in their name
  • Age of credit history (a longer credit history tends to result in a credit score boost)
  • Credit utilization, which speaks to the amount of available revolving credit being used at once

Just as importantly, a credit report will list a consumer's open credit accounts. And any account that appears on a credit report that isn't recognizable is one that should be flagged and investigated as fraud.

Making all of this information more accessible and easy to understand for Spanish speakers is essential. Without it, consumers may have no idea that their identity has been stolen or that they're being listed as liable for overdue bills they never racked up in the first place.

In fact, the timing of Equifax's new Spanish credit reports is crucial because there have been many instances of financial fraud during the pandemic. So it's now more important than ever for consumers to check up on their credit.

Plus, right now, consumers can access a free copy of their credit report every week through April. Those who are able to view their reports in Spanish may want to look at their credit reports more frequently, especially if they spot errors and need to follow up on having them corrected.

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