ATLANTA — People across metro Atlanta could be paying more for things because a mistake.
During a three-week period, Equifax credit bureau sent erroneous credit scores for people applying for auto loans, mortgages and credit cards to banks big and small.
Channel 2 consumer advisor Clark Howard told Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston that this happened in early spring and five months later, we’re just now hearing about it.
During that time, the housing market was on fire. And there’s a chance some of Channel 2 Action News viewers ended up paying more for their mortgage than they should have.
“They could have been denied a loan, or charged a higher interests rate for that loan,” Howard said.
Howard said the company never told consumers about it.
“So they have treated this as an internal story even though they’ve known about this since every early spring apparently,” Howard told Huddleston.
Here’s why this is important. Equifax admits your credit scores could have been mistakenly lowered by 25 points.
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If your score was 690 in the good range, but Equifax dropped it 25 points, your score is now 665 in the fair range. That means you probably are paying a higher interest rate.
Using a mortgage calculator, if you’re applied for a 30-year mortgage on a $250,000 home, you didn’t get the 5% interest rate.
With that bad, lower credit score your rate could have been 5.85%.
Your monthly house payment jumps $133 and over the length of the loan, you would be paying almost $48,000 more than you should.
“There will be some level of restitution paid to the people who are able, as best they can, to determine who were cheated on loans or denied loans because of Equifax’s mess up,” Howard said.
Equifax said on their website: “While the score may have shifted, a score shift does not necessarily mean that a consumers credit decision was negatively impacted. "
Howard said yes it does.
“People were harmed back in the winter and early spring, and they didn’t even know it,” Howard said.
Equifax also said data quality is a big issue for us, we take it very seriously and the issue is fixed.
In 2017, the company admitted hackers got into their system and got social security numbers, birth dates and home addresses to nearly half of the country.
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