From time to time, you may need to get in touch with the three major credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – for various reasons, including freezing your credit, which money expert Clark Howard believes is the best way to protect your identity.
One issue you may run into when contacting the credit bureaus is reaching a real person.
In this article, I’m going to share with you the steps you can take to reach human beings at the three major credit bureaus.
At Clark.com, we call each of them periodically to stay current on their processes for reaching a real person.
In January 2023, I documented the steps as well as the wait times it took for me to talk to a real person at the following credit bureaus:
How To Reach Humans at Experian, TransUnion and Equifax
Wait times may be longer if you call during peak hours, so try to call early in the day. Also, note that each of the credit bureaus has several phone numbers, each for different issues. What I’ve detailed below is the quickest way I was able to reach a real person.
All the credit bureaus route callers to self-service options. Even after reaching a real person, he or she may have to put you on hold to get you to the department you need.
- Experian phone number: Experian’s official customer service number is: 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742). But I called 888-888-8553 to talk to a human.
- How to reach a real person: Bypass the prompts that try to route you to the website or automated self-serve by choosing the “other questions” option.
- Total wait time: Less than 5 minutes
Detailed steps on how to reach a live person at Experian: Enter your Social Security number to confirm your identity.
You’ll be asked, “Would you like to remove the freeze on your credit file now?” If you say yes, you’ll be routed to a self-serve process. I said no.
The automated voice will say: “In a few words, why are you calling today?” It gave me the option to press 9 to hear my choices and that’s what I did. At the end of the prompt, it will say, “For other questions, 6.” I pressed 6.
It will give you a choice to choose credit questions or membership questions. Listen to the list of prompts and soon it will say, “For other membership questions, press 6.” I pressed 6 again.
After that, I was briefly put on hold and then connected to a real person at Experian in just a few minutes.
- TransUnion phone number: The official customer care number for TransUnion is 1-800-916-8800, and that’s the number I called to get to a real person.
- How to reach a real person: Answer the voice prompts and wait to be connected.
- Total wait time: Less than 3 minutes
Details on how to reach a live person at TransUnion: To speak to a human at TransUnion, I had to speak to an automated voice, but first I had to enter my mailing ZIP Code.
After answering those questions to verify my identity, I was prompted to state the purpose of my call. A few times I called, I said “Dispute” and was connected to a real person. A couple of times after that, I said “Agent” and was also connected to a human.
- Equifax Phone number: While Equifax’s official customer service phone number is 1-800-846-5279, I found the easiest path to reach a real human is to call this number: 1-866-640-2273.
- How to reach a real person: Press 4, then press 1.
- Total wait time: 4 minutes
Details on how to reach a live person at Equifax: The call will start with some introductory promotions. You’ll hear a menu with five options. You’ll be prompted to:
- Press 1 to speak to an automated voice about online assistance with changing or disputing your Equifax credit report, placing or removing a security freeze or information regarding your free credit report.
- Press 2 for login help
- Press 3 to cancel a product
- Press 4 to speak to a product specialist
- Press 5 if you’re having trouble enrolling for a product
If you don’t press anything, it may connect you to a real person in a few seconds. If not, here’s what to do: Press 4: You’ll be forwarded to an agent shortly.
After calling multiple times, I found that pressing 4 was the quickest way to reach a human. I also reached a live person by pressing 1, but it took longer.
You may also get the following option: “If you’d like to receive a callback rather than wait on hold, press 1 now. You will not lose your place in line.”
Recap: Quick Ways To Reach a Real Person at the Credit Bureaus
Now that we’ve gone over how to reach a live person at the three major credit bureaus, let’s review:
|Credit Bureau||Phone Number||Operating Hours|
|Experian||1-888-888-8553||Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Central|
|TransUnion||1-800-916-8800||Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern|
Saturday & Sunday 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Eastern
|Equifax||1-866-640-2273||Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Eastern|
Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Eastern
Reaching real, live help at the credit bureaus can be a pain, but it pays to be persistent.
If you found a great way to contact the credit bureaus, let us know in our Clark.com Community!