Spotlight Equifax: Building Credit for 123 Years

Known for its status as one of the top three US credit bureaus, Equifax is a global data analytics company with a goal of “helping people live their financial best.” The firm was founded in 1898 by two brothers, Cator and Guy Woolford. The former, a grocer from Chattanooga, Tennessee, made a list of his customers and their relative credit worthiness and began selling his list to other local vendors for $25 each. Last year, Equifax delivered 2.8 billion consumer credit card files to US lenders.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, today’s Equifax works with 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies, along with thousands of additional businesses to verify millions of identities, employment records and income data each year. Its flagship product is the Equifax Cloud, a data platform customizable for the full range of customers. Equifax’s breakthrough here was capturing all of its data in the cloud for instant access and enabling it to be used with advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Equifax calls its innovation work transformational across every aspect of the company as it aims to implement new technologies that allow customers to solve problems faster than ever. For example, the firm is an early leader in “explainable artificial intelligence,” leading to more tailored credit scores that help lenders approve credit with less risk.

Equifax has three business units: US Information Systems serves consumers and businesses with the full range of services from consumer credit to identify theft monitoring; Workforce Solutions provides HR, tax and payroll services to American business and government organizations; and International takes all these services to foreign markets. Sales from outside of the US account for about a third of total revenue. In 2020, Equifax gave away $3.1 million in grants and more in credit coaching, education, and financial tools in support of its belief that credit building can help to correct income inequality.

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