Build Credit Now

Is Equifax safe?

Equifax is one of the largest credit reference agencies in the UK, providing credit scores and reports to both regular people and businesses. Its credit score and report are used by millions of people and hundreds of lenders across the UK. This means that you need to understand how Equifax handles your data, and if it’s safe with them.

How safe is Equifax?

Equifax is a reputable company, not only in the UK, but worldwide. The company is also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and adheres to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act from 2018, making sure that all data is handled securely and in accordance with the law.

How does Equifax handle my personal data?

Equifax collects and keeps track of how people handle their debt. This includes information from various sources like banks, credit cards, mortgages, utility companies, and other agreements. When someone applies for credit, lenders use Equifax's credit scores to decide how likely it is that the person will pay back the loan and whether lending to them is a good idea.

According to Equifax, it takes several measures to protect your data:

  • Equifax encrypts all data both in transit and at rest, ensuring that even if unauthorised access is gained, the data remains impossible to read.
  • Equifax uses secure servers located in the UK, which are regularly updated and monitored to prevent any potential vulnerabilities.
  • Access to personal data is restricted to authorised personnel only, with strict security protocols.
  • Equifax also runs regular audits to make sure that compliance with data protection regulations is kept, and to identify any potential security risks.

Was Equifax ever hacked?

Unfortunately, yes. In 2017, Equifax experienced a global data breach that affected about 147 million people worldwide, including some UK residents.

The company was fined for this to the tune of £500,000 by the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and another £11 million by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for failing to protect the personal data of 15 million Britons.

While the breach was caused by a cyber-attack on Equifax's US-based computers, the ICO found that Equifax's UK branch had failed to take appropriate steps to protect the personal data of UK citizens.

However, Equifax claims that it has since implemented enhanced security measures to prevent such incidents from occurring again.

Should I be worried?

In today's digital world, cybersecurity risks are constantly growing. It's difficult to predict whether Equifax will be breached again. However, there are some points to have in mind:

  • After the 2017 breach happened, Equifax implemented strict security procedures to prevent anything like it happening again.
  • Equifax's security is generally better than that of many other products you use, including social media apps and bank apps.
  • If your personal data is stolen, the most common thing a criminal can do is get credit in your name. However, if this happens, you will notice it on your credit report. You can fix the issue by reporting the crime to Action Fraud Police, disputing it with Equifax, and by taking protective registration with CIFAS.

Also, there is little you can do about the risk of data breaches. Lenders need to know your credit history, and only credit reference agencies like Equifax can provide this data.

While it’s ok to be concerned about data breaches, you shouldn’t stress about it.

Instead, focus on improving your credit score.

The good news is that there are now many apps that can help you build and improve your credit. One such app is Wollit, which works by reporting a fixed-fee monthly subscription as a loan repayment to all credit reference agencies, including Equifax. This helps you build a history of timely debt repayments, which is the main factor that matters for your credit score. If you're looking for an app that can actually improve your credit rating, downloading a credit-building app like Wollit may be a better use of your time than simply checking your credit report for signs of fraud.

Don’t miss out on more insights

Join our community and get exclusive tips delivered straight to your inbox

Feel better about your credit score

Terms apply. Results may vary. Improvements to your credit score are not guaranteed. Wollit Credit Builder plans are unregulated.