The information that credit bureaus collect affects just about every aspect of your life. Whether you’re approved for a credit card, get a good mortgage rate, can rent an apartment or even get a job – they all can hinge to varying degrees on your credit score. So when a credit bureau has something wrong, it’s imperative that you tell them. The three major bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – offer online services and prefer that you use their online forms instead of calling. But sometimes you need to talk to a live person.
If you want to build a long-term financial plan while you get your credit in order, consider speaking with a financial advisor.
Why Would I Need to Contact a Credit Bureau?
The three big credit bureaus or credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – create credit reports that reflect consumers’ creditworthiness. The reporting agencies are for-profit businesses and sell their reports to other businesses, such as insurers, credit card companies, banks and employers.
These businesses in turn factor in these credit reports when making decisions such as whether to offer you a credit card and at what interest rate. So it’s important to monitor your credit reports and make sure the information on them is correct. If you ever find a mistake, you should contact the credit bureau to correct the information. You may also need to contact to a credit bureau if you think that you’re a victim of credit fraud. That could mean placing a fraud alert on your account or freezing your credit so that no one can open a new line of credit in your name.
Don’t forget that you can get a free copy of your credit report three times per year.
How to Talk to a Real Person at Equifax
Equifax has multiple phone numbers that you can use to speak with a real person. The number that you use will depend on what you need help with. We recommend trying to contact the correct number. If you call the wrong number, they will simply say they cannot help you and then direct you to call another number. You can find all of Equifax’s contact information on its website, Equifax.com.
If you want to contact Equifax with a general inquiry, you can reach the company’s customer service via phone at the number (888) 378-4329. Just make sure to call between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, or 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.
In September 2017, Equifax announced that 147 million people had personal information exposed in a data breach. The company agreed to a global settlement up to $425 million to help those affected by the breach. You can file a claim between Jan. 23, 2020, and Jan. 22, 2024, for expenses incurred from identity theft or fraud related to the breach. For more information, you can call (833) 759-2982 or you can visit www.EquifaxBreachSettlement.com.
The table below has some common reasons why you might want to call Equifax and the number that you should call in order to speak with a representative.
How to Talk to a Real Person at Experian
Experian makes it relatively hard to talk to a real person on the phone. The company encourages people to use its website for most things. However, there are three main phone numbers that you should know if you want to talk to someone at Experian.
Call (888) 397-3742 if you want to order a credit report or if you have any questions related to fraud and identity theft. The number (888) 397-3742 (1-888-EXPERIAN) will also work. You can place an immediate fraud/security alert on your credit with this number.
If you have a question about something on a recent credit report (such as incorrect information), you will need to have a copy of the credit report. On the report you will find a 10-digit number. This number is different for each credit report and you will need it for the representative to help with any issues related to your specific report.
If you need help with anything related to your membership account, you should call the Experian’s customer service at (866) 617-1894. You will need to call while the Experian office is open in order to speak with someone. The hours are 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, Monday to Friday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, on the weekends.
|How to Speak With a Real Person at Experian|
|Reason for Calling||Phone Number|
|Buying a credit report or placing a fraud alert on your credit file||(888) 397-3742|
|Question about a recent credit report||Call the number on your document from Experian|
|Question about Experian membership account||(866) 617-1894|
How to Talk to a Real Person at TransUnion
TransUnion has one general support number that you can use to talk to a human. This includes help with your credit report (such as to dispute information, freeze your account, or report fraud), your credit score or any general questions. That customer support number is (800) 916-8800.
You will hear an automated service when you first call this number. Press 4 in order to speak with a representative. Then you’ll need to press 1 if you have a TransUnion File Number or 2 if you don’t have one.
A TransUnion File Number is a unique identification number that you can find in the top right of your TransUnion credit report. You do not need a number to speak with a representative. However, you will need it to do anything related specifically to your credit report. For example, the file number is necessary for disputing incorrect information.
If you need a credit report or have an issue on your report, you’ll need to contact a credit bureau. Each of the three national credit bureaus has a website where you can do most things. In fact, they prefer that you use online forms instead of calling. But sometimes it’s comforting to speak with a real person who can answer your specific questions.
The first step is figure out what phone number you need. The credit bureaus all have multiple numbers. Not all of the numbers will allow you to solve your specific issue. Of course once you have the right number, you will also need some patience. Hold times can be long, particularly during the coronavirus slow-down. The credit bureaus have also experienced higher phone traffic since the Equifax breach in 2017.
Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Milkos, ©iStock.com/sturti, ©iStock.com/fstop123