A Surprising List of Who Can See Your Credit Report
Article by Mark Andrade
The list of who has access to the personal financial information contained in your credit report is long and might surprise you. It’s important to understand the implications, especially if you are trying to rebuild your credit, obtain more credit, or conduct credit repair.
These organizations can legitimately request your credit report:
* Student Loan and Grant Lenders – You usually won’t be denied a loan for bad credit. But you can’t get another federal loan if you already have one in default.
* Utility Companies – Bad credit won’t prevent you from getting service unless you are in arrears or owe on an old account. Payment plans or assistance is sometimes available.
* Mortgage Lenders – If you try to get a loan greater than 0k, mortgage lenders can access more extensive, historical information than other creditors and they review it very carefully these days.
* Potential Creditors – If you initiate a transaction or accept a credit offer a credit report can be requested. Too many requests can have a negative impact on your credit report so don’t authorize a request if you are just contemplating a purchase.
* Judgment Creditors – If someone receives a judgment against you, they can look at your report to determine if they should start collection efforts against you, or if they have to hire someone to locate you or your assets.
* Collection Agencies – If you have an account sent into collection, the collection agency can request a copy of your credit report to learn more about your assets, to find you, or initiate collection efforts
* Insurance Companies – Insurance companies can access to your report if you apply for a new policy, but you must give consent if it contains medical information. If you are trying to obtain a life insurance policy greater than 0k, the insurance company can access older information, like what’s available to the mortgage lender.
* Employers – You must give permission before an employer can access your credit report. Employers often require this when conducting a background check on a potential employee or to assess a current employee for promotion.
* Government Agencies – Your credit report can be requested by government agencies to determine eligibility for public assistance. They look for hidden assets or income – not unpaid bills. Your credit report can also be used when considering child support payments or eligibility for various state licenses. Government agencies can also access your information when investigating terrorist activities.
The good news is that there are still many people and organizations that are not allowed access to your credit report. For instance, it cannot be used in immigration, child custody, divorce, or other legal proceedings. The district attorney cannot access your report for either criminal or civil case investigations.
To monitor unauthorized use, request a copy of your credit report at least once a year and review the list of inquiries. Look for unfamiliar names or businesses on the list. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can sue anyone who has requested your credit report fraudulently.
If you want to repair or maintain your credit, you need to consider who has access to this most personal information. Too many inquiries into your credit score can negatively affect your efforts. Knowing this and understanding how your information is used to evaluate your credit puts you in the drivers seat when it comes to building your credit rating and achieving your financial dreams.
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