Equifax agrees to pay up to $700 million to settle a probe into its massive data breach
- Equifax, one of the three largest credit reporting agencies, will pay as much as $700 million in fines over its 2017 data breach that revealed personal information on about 147 million people.
- The Federal Trade Commission announced the settlement in a statement on its website on Monday morning, nearly two years after the hack occurred.
- The proposed settlement would also require Equifax to provide free credit reports to all US customers.
- Watch Equifax trade live.
Nearly two years after the names, social security numbers, and physical addresses of almost 150 million Americans were leaked in a masive Equifax data breach, the company has agreed to pay a settlement totaling up to $700 million.
The US Federal Trade Commission published a statement on Monday morning outlining the settlement with the credit reporting agency. Equifax will pay $175 million to 48 states, and another $100 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The remaining $300 million will be set aside in a fund to help consumers with credit monitoring services, and to compensate people purchased credit of identity monitoring services from Equifax.
The company has also agreed to add an additional $125 million to the fund if the initial amount isn't enough, which would bring its total payout to $700 million. For comparison, Equifax reported a total of $3.4 billion in revenue in 2018, with around $300 million in profit.
Equifax's stock climbed more than 2% in early trading.
The settlement alleged that Equifax failed to take "reasonable steps to secure its network," which led to the data breach in 2017. According to the FTC statement, the company neglected to patch its network after discovering a security vulnerability in one of its databases.
"Companies that profit from personal information have an extra responsibility to protect and secure that data," FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a statement. "Equifax failed to take basic steps that may have prevented the breach that affected approximately 147 million consumers."
As part of the settlement, the agency will also be required to provide six free credit reports per year for seven years to all US customers.
Equifax was up 47% year-to-date through Friday.