Consumers are likely to get much less than the $125 cash settlement offered by Equifax. Why? Because nearly everyone chose the cash payout, rather than credit monitoring.
“The public response to the settlement has been overwhelming, and we’re delighted that millions of people have visited ftc.gov/Equifax and gone on to the settlement website’s claims form,” the FTC announced. “But there’s a downside to this unexpected number of claims. First, though, the good: all 147 million people can ask for and get free credit monitoring. There’s also the option for people who certify that they already have credit monitoring to claim up to $125 instead. But the pot of money that pays for that part of the settlement is $31 million. A large number of claims for cash instead of credit monitoring means only one thing: each person who takes the money option will wind up only getting a small amount of money. Nowhere near the $125 they could have gotten if there hadn’t been such an enormous number of claims filed.”
Those who have submitted a claim and selected the cash option can look for an email from the settlement administrator, asking for proof of existing credit monitoring and offering the chance to switch.