One of the "Big Three" consumer credit reporting agencies admitted to a "potential miscalculation" in the credit scores it issued earlier this year, affecting perhaps millions of consumers looking to secure loans.
On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal was the first to report that Equifax had erroneously calculated some credit scores during a three-week period earlier this year, and Equifax has since released a statement admitting that "a coding issue" during the migration process to Equifax Cloud™ caused a "potential miscalculation" in the algorithm for the millions of credit reports issued between March 17 and April 6.
"As part of this extensive analysis, we have determined that there was no shift in the vast majority of scores during the three-week timeframe of the issue," a company statement reads in part. "For those consumers that did experience a score shift, initial analysis indicates that only a small number of them may have received a different credit decision...
"Our data shows that less than 300,000 consumers experienced a score shift of 25 points or more. While the score may have shifted, a score shift does not necessarily mean that a consumer’s credit decision was negatively impacted. We are collaborating with our customers to determine the actual impact to consumers."
While Equifax insists that only a small fraction of the consumers who received scores during this time period "experienced" a significant "score shift," which may or may not have affected a "credit decision," others believe the impact of this error may have prevented hundreds of thousands of people from securing car or home loans or from opening a credit card. It may have forced others who received a loan to pay a higher interest rate.
The United States Public Interest Group tweeted that, because of this glitch, "Equifax has shown once again that we can’t trust it to do its one job. Regulators should investigate; Congress should require credit bureaus to pay hefty fines when they put people’s credit at risk."
Even a tweet from CNN suggests that the damage could be widespread: "Credit giant Equifax issued incorrect scores for millions of people, in some cases so significantly that lenders may have wrongfully denied loans."
The U.K. Daily Mail also published an article listing a series of people who claim to have been adversely affected by the Equifax error, though their stories have not yet been verified.
Since Equifax had a serious security breach back in 2017 that compromised the private data of nearly 150 million people, many are hesitant to trust Equifax's assessment of the consumer impact caused by the company's latest misstep.