Finance Blog

Stay financially savvy with the Equifax Advisor.

Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter


Thank you for signing up for the FREE Equifax monthly newsletter

In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.

Understand your credit. Help protect your identity.

Equifax Complete™ Premier Plan

  • Know What May Influence Your Credit Score and Be Alerted of Changes
    Credit score monitoring with custom alerts
    Important Disclosure: The Equifax credit score and 3-Bureau credit scores are based on an Equifax credit score model and are not the same scores used by 3rd parties to assess your creditworthiness.¹
  • Help Protect Your Identity
    Automatic fraud alerts encourages lenders to take extra steps to verify your identity²
  • Lock Your Credit
    The ability to lock and unlock your Equifax Credit Report³
Save 75% your first 30 days with the purchase of Equifax Complete™ Premier

$4.95 for the first 30 days, then $19.95 per month thereafter. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.4

¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.

²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.

³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.

4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.

Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.

“Disciplined Consumers” Paying Off Debt

Written by Equifax Experts on December 3, 2012 in Credit  |   6 comments

Americans across the country are paying off debt and remaining cautious about taking on new debt. Is this due to a greater economic recovery, or are consumers playing a larger part in debt levels? And how might this affect credit scores? Overall consumer debt fell…

Americans across the country are paying off debt and remaining cautious about taking on new debt. Is this due to a greater economic recovery, or are consumers playing a larger part in debt levels? And how might this affect credit scores?

Overall consumer debt fell by 2.28 percent in the third quarter of the year versus the same period a year ago, marking a $256 billion drop over the last year. U.S. consumers owe a little less than $11 trillion in total debt, with mortgage debt accounting for slightly more than three-quarters of that amount.

The drop in debt reflects a rise in what Trey Loughran, president of the Personal Solutions unit at Equifax, calls the “disciplined consumer”—a borrower who is more disciplined in taking on new debt and is careful about how he or she manages pre-existing credit.

“Generally speaking, consumers are showing discipline and caution about debt coming out of the recession,” Loughran said. “Even though people are taking on debt to get new automobiles, we also know they are driving their cars longer. We expect the trend of the ‘disciplined consumer’ to continue for some time.”

Of the overall debt, non-mortgage consumer debt increased 0.7 percent, due largely to continual increases in auto financing. Auto debt rose 7.1 percent nationally over last year and is one of the few areas where spending has recently increased.

On the other hand, mortgage debt dropped 3.4 percent. While the decrease in mortgage debt may be due to Americans consistently paying off their mortgages, mortgage debt also gets written off after foreclosures, dropping total consumer debt.

Differences in consumer debt seen across the United States

While debt decreased overall nationwide, consumer debt increased in three cities over last year. In the Houston area, debt climbed 1.37 percent; in Pittsburgh, it increased 1.05 percent; and in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, debt grew 0.08 percent.

The recession has affected portions of the country differently, with unemployment figures varying city by city and foreclosure rates changing dramatically state to state. Residents of states hit particularly hard by the recession—California, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona—have been more cautious about taking on new debt and have been more regularly paying off their debt.

The largest declines in consumer debt were in the Las Vegas, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Sacramento-Yolo, and Phoenix-Mesa markets—all areas that had some of the highest foreclosure rates amid the recession.

After the holidays, it’s possible that the last quarter of the year will see higher consumer debt than previous quarters—typically consumers rack up some temporary debt during the last part of the year. Whether the overall trend will continue to decrease year over year remains to be seen.

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.


  1. Timothy A. Craig says:

    Respectfully requesting additional 90 days

  2. John L. says:

    I paid-off my mortgage my principal residence in 2004. It was formally discharged in 2010, in the County Register of Deeds office. The discharge is in the ‘Public Record.’

    The last holder of the mortgage was NOT a member of Equifax Transunion, Experian, et. al.

    I have sent copies of the discharge document to Equifax, only to
    receive form letters stating, ‘mortgage not reporting.’

    Equifax, Transunion & Experian routinely search the public record for defaults, foreclosures, bankruptcies, deaths, divorces, judgments, tax liens & criminal convictions & enter them into credit files.

    Discharged mortgages are not routinely entered by the credit reporting companies. Why is this the case ?

    And how does one have their paid-off, discharged mortgage entered into their credit file ?

  3. John L. says:

    Equifax is no doubt aware a fair % of homeowners own their homes free & clear – (ie. w/ ‘clear title’)

    This unused (readily ‘monetized’) property value goes UN-recognized by the Credit reporting companies. (brokerage/ investment ‘margin’ lines of credit also go un-recognized by credit reporting company’s algorithms…)

    Credit scores reflect little more than credit card capacity & credit available.

    Does Equifax have long terms plans to include the unused property value of real estate in it credit scoring algorithm ?

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Hi John. Credit scores are indications of your risk as a borrower, so credit reports and credit scores are reflective of recent and current payment habits and debt obligations. The team at the Equifax Finance Blog is independent from the scoring process by Equifax, but we’re happy to hear from you. Thanks for posting.

      • John L. says:

        I will explain further:

        The sole criteria Equifax, Transunion & Experian employ in determining credit capacity is unused borrowing capacity of credit cards.

        Approximately 1/3 of American homeowners own their primary residences w/ ‘clear title’ – they own their homesteads ‘free & clear.’ This ‘home equity’ appears to go unrecognized in the calculation of credit scores.

        As easily as consumers reduce (& increase) their credit capacity on their credit cards, homeowners can – & do – reduce (&increase) the equity in their homes. Approximately 1/3 of American homeowners have significant ‘unused borrowing capacity’ available to them. Until home equity is included in calculating credits cores, Credit scores will inaccurately gauges the true credit capacity/ borrowing responsibility of 1/3 of American homeowners.

        The implication: credit scores inaccurately under grade the credit capacity & risk of 1/3 of American homeowners (ie. those homeowners w/ clear titles to their ‘homesteads’). Their homes may not be readily salable, but the equity in their homes can be readily ‘monetized’ via a 1st mortgage.

        Please refer it to a department where it will receive a direct response.

        Thank you

  4. John L. says:

    Late payments are treated as mortal sins by the Credit Reporting agencies. Consumers should avoid them like the plague.

    How do CRAs treat early payments by consumers ?

Leave a Comment

Name :

Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Credit Archive