Equifax will offer Spanish-translated credit reports for free, both online and via mail, the credit reporting company said Monday.
The move will help more than 62 million Spanish speakers in the U.S. Equifax is the first credit reporting firm to offer the service.
“We recognize there is a clear demand for broader availability of information in Spanish, and we created this Spanish-language report to meet the growing demands,” said Beverly Anderson, president of global consumer solutions at Equifax, in a statement. “We want to expand access to and understanding of credit, especially to vulnerable and historically underserved communities, so that they are empowered to move forward in all aspects of their financial journey.”
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The importance of a credit report
Access to your credit report is important in the U.S. as it’s one of the few ways to get any insight into your credit score.
A credit report, issued by credit companies such as Equifax, Experian or TransUnion, is an overview of how you’ve managed and repaid debt. It’s used in calculating your credit score and is needed to secure loans, rent an apartment, buy a house or car, and even be hired for certain jobs.
To be sure, FICO, which calculates a the credit score of the same name, has offered Spanish-language services since 2012 and Crediverso also recently announced a platform with financial products in Spanish, including credit checks and reports. But, having access to credit reports in Spanish from one of the major credit reporting firms is an important next step for many consumers.
That’s because if a consumer thinks there is an issue with their credit score – which could be lowered by incorrect information or identity theft – they cannot dispute it with FICO or VantageScore, another credit scoring model.
Instead, they must debate any incorrect information with the credit reporting company (or multiple company, if more than one report is wrong) to change their credit report.
“If you speak a different language or communicate primarily in a different language, that access doesn’t actually help you,” said Rachel Gittleman, financial services and membership outreach manager at the Consumer Federation of America.
How often you can see a credit report
Generally, Americans can review their credit report from each of the three major credit companies once a year for free. However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, consumers can now request the reports once a week free of charge through April 2022.
That means now is a good time to request your credit reports and work on disputing any errors you may find. Mistakes are common, and the coronavirus pandemic may have contributed to an uptick in incorrect information on credit reports.
In February and March of 2021, Consumer Reports asked 6,000 volunteers to pull their credit reports and 34% found at least one error. And, complaints about consumer credit reports with incorrect information surged nearly 120% from 2019 to 2020, according to data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.