Who Can Access My Credit Report?
Technology has made it easier to find information on just about anything you can think of. The fact that most information is online – thanks to the Internet – makes it easier for whoever needs to know about you to do so. That said, some information is out of bounds. For example, the credit report is not easily available. You can get yours upon paying a fee or free at least once every 12 months.
The question you need to be concerned with is: who can access my credit report?
The law allows the following organizations to obtain your report to check specific data.
Why do banks need my credit report? Well, the main reason is they need to confirm that you’re the person you claim to be. The credit report sheds more light on your identity. Banks need customers. They need new customers. However, that doesn’t mean that they can accept or embrace just about anyone who comes to them. These institutions would therefore study the credit report as a way of evaluating your financial behavior and the risk you bring onboard.
- Mortgage Providers
Mortgage providers would not hesitate to ask for your credit report the moment they receive your application for this facility. They do not limit themselves to the information you fill on your application form. The providers study your report for two main reasons. First, they look at it to determine how reliable you are as a borrower. Two, the report will also help them understand if you’re able to repay the mortgage regularly as agreed.
- Creditors and Lenders
It has become increasingly hard to go through life without loans or credit cards. Occasionally, you may need to obtain a new card or loan. The lenders and credit card issuers do not just give you whatever you need simply because you asked for it. They have to evaluate your application and determine your creditworthiness. The document that provides answers to these questions is the credit report. The report will:
- a) Show them whether you are worth lending to or issuing the card to
- a) Help them to decide how much money they should allow you to borrow
- a) Help them set an interest rate for you
- Prospective Employers
Your prospective employer is likely to perform a bit of background check. These employers do this to protect the company against the likelihood of recruiting the wrong person for the job. They check various documents for the information they need. One of this is the credit report. Expect the employer to ask for the report if you apply for a job that gives you more responsibility or where you would be handling huge sums of money.
However, you can say no to this request though that could dim your chances of being hired.
- Utility Companies and Service Providers
Utility or service companies that provide electricity, gas and water usually charge fees in arrears. You don’t pay beforehand. You only pay for what you’ve already received and used from these companies. For this reason, they would be more interested to see what your credit report has to say. They do this to ascertain if you are good at managing credit facilities or not. They could opt to place you in a prepay package if your history of late payments is of concern.
- Mobile Phone Firms
Mobile phone firms give their clients the option of subscribing to a postpaid or prepaid service. They have no problem with customers who sign up for the former. However, most firms would want to know that you’re a reliable customer if you request for the prepaid package. They wouldn’t want to offer you a service you’re incapable of paying for on time. The firms spell everything out in their contract terms. Study these little details.
- Property Owners and Letting Agents
Property owners and letting agents do not study your credit report with a fine tooth comb. They don’t analyze your report forensically. They only need some basic information to confirm your identity. Most of them also conduct such checks to ascertain that you would have no problem paying your rent on time. Therefore, expect the agents and owners to snoop through your report seeking information regarding timely payment.
- Debt Collection Agencies
Have you taken a loan? Did you apply for a credit card? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you may have given the lender permission to go through your credit report. In some cases, you may be unable to repay the debt as scheduled. If that’s the case, the lender would then pass your debt to a collection agency. The law mandates the agency to assess the current state of your finances before settling on the best way of collecting what you owe.
- Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are very protective of their assets. For this reason, they would always show more interest in your credit history before deciding whether you’re worth insuring. They also go through the credit report before deciding the interest rates to charge you for any insurance that you buy. This happens a lot with home or auto insurance. However, expect any insurer to ask for this document for any policy that you need.
The insurer would charge you higher premiums if your report shows a history of late payments.
- Government Agencies
Government agencies may check your credit report where necessary. An example of such agency is the one responsible for monitoring whether you are paying child support as required. The agencies tasked with the job of processing licenses may also feel the need to check your report. Now, this doesn’t mean that the government does this to deny you any service. The government simply does this to confirm if you’re fulfilling your obligations.
Can I See Who Made Inquiries on My Credit Report?
Yes, you can. It’s possible for you to know who has been ‘spying’ on you. Each credit report comes with a section labeled ‘Inquiries.’ This section is often towards the end of the report. It lists all the inquiries that have been made regarding your credit history over a specific period, which usually tends to be around two years. Most inquiries should not be strange, especially if they are from any of the organizations listed above.
Check this section carefully for strange inquiries. File a dispute with the relevant authority in case you see an inquiry from a source that you’re not familiar with. It would be good to read a bit on the institutions that the law allows to check or obtain information from your credit report first, though. Otherwise, your dispute would have no basis. Do not take these inquiries lightly since they can hurt your credit score.
The credit report contains crucial information about you. It has your name. It also indicates your date of birth. It indicates whether you are a registered voter too. The inquirer can see your credit accounts as well. Current account overdrafts also appear on this report. Check the Fair Credit Reporting Act closely if you’re not sure about the businesses the government and law permits to check critical and specific information from your credit report.