Equifax is continuing to closely monitor the rapidly evolving COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation and its significant financial impact on consumers and businesses around the globe. That’s why we are taking measures to support consumers impacted by the Coronavirus while also working with creditors and lenders to help minimize the effects on consumers’ credit standing.
What to do if you’re having trouble paying your bills
The first thing to do is contact the lender, credit card company or organization to which you owe payment. Many organizations are offering special programs to assist people who experience difficulties related to Coronavirus. They may allow you to delay or reduce payments, depending on your situation.
When you ask your creditor about an assistance program, be sure to understand any additional fees that may be involved as well as how interest calculations may be affected.
How special assistance programs are reported to credit bureaus
As a registered Canadian credit bureau, Equifax compiles and maintains data on individuals in the form of a credit report. We are committed to maintaining fair and accurate credit information about Canadians. The effects of the Coronavirus on the Canadian credit ecosystem continue to evolve and many organizations are offering special payment programs to assist customers financially impacted by the pandemic. We understand that people are concerned about how deferred payments and other special arrangements may affect credit scores. We are working together as an industry to help minimize any negative impact on credit standing while maintaining the data integrity that underpins our ecosystem. The specific details continue to evolve and we will share more information as the plans are finalized.
Due to the Coronavirus, we have temporarily closed our Equifax Consumer Walk-in Centres. In addition, our Equifax Consumer Call Centres have been impacted by site closures and government mandated curfews. Due to this you may experience longer than normal wait times. Our agents are available to assist you from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. We appreciate your understanding.
Getting your credit report
There are two ways you can obtain free copies of your credit report. There are some differences between the options, which are described below.
Includes the most recent information that has been sent to Equifax by your creditors and others organizations which report to credit bureaus. Does not include the payment profile tables which are contained within your free Equifax Canada consumer credit report.
ECS securely collects and stores consumers’ credit report from Equifax Canada in the United States and uses it to provide the consumers’ product. (Your data will go to the United States.)
Includes the most recent information that has been sent to Equifax by your creditors and others organizations which report to credit bureaus.
Why you should check your credit report
Checking your credit reports regularly is one of the best ways you can monitor your credit standing. Reviewing the report will help you understand your credit position, ensure accounts are being reported accurately, and possibly identify inaccurate or incomplete information. If you see anything that doesn’t look correct on your Equifax credit report, here are the steps to follow.
How to minimize the effect of Coronavirus on your credit standing
- Talk to your lenders and creditors and see if any assistance is available.
- Pay what you can. To avoid having late payments show up on your credit reports, try to make at least the minimum payment on accounts, or pay any amount you and the lender or creditor agree upon.
- Stay up-to-date on your credit reports.
- Consider adding a consumer statement to your credit reports. You can add a statement to your credit report, free of charge. If your statement is 400 words or less, it will be added to your credit file, and will be included each time your credit file is accessed. An example of a consumer statement: “Be advised that the negative accounts on my credit report are related to the Coronavirus. I intend to make these up as soon as I can.”
Please send your statement in writing to Equifax, along with your name, address, date of birth and phone number. You will also need to provide photocopies of two valid pieces of identification. If you have the Equifax Unique Number from your credit report, that is also helpful.
Equifax Canada Co.
National Consumer Relations
Montreal, Quebec H1S 2Z2
To remove the consumer statement, you must also do so by writing to the above address or fax number.