Know Your Rights

Who Can and Cannot See Your Credit Report

Your credit report, a summary of your financial history, is an important document that can help determine whether or not you receive a credit card, mortgage or automobile loan, and what interest rate you will pay for your loans.  Your credit report can even determine whether or not you can rent an apartment or whether you get hired for a job. 

The Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") specifies who can access your credit report and who cannot.  The FCRA states that a company must have a legitimate purpose to view your report and any organization or individual who obtains a copy of your credit report without permission or under false pretenses can be fined under the FCRA. 

Who Can See Your Report

If you are applying for credit or already have credit, the lender has permission to view your report.  A lender may review both your credit score and report during the application process and periodically while you maintain credit. 

Insurance Companies
Most auto insurance and some homeowner insurance companies will review your credit report prior to extending you insurance.  Some insurance companies will request your score to help determine what type of premium you will pay for the insurance.

Collection Agencies
If you owe money to a collection agency because you failed to make payment on your debts, a collection agency may view your credit report and score.  Collectors will use your report to determine whether or not to begin collection efforts.  Collectors often pull reports prior to a debtor knowing the collection agency was trying to collect a debt. 

Most landlords will check your credit before renting you an apartment or home.  Depending on what service the landlord or realty company uses for a credit check, the landlord may or may not receive your credit score along with a copy of your report. 

Cellular Phone and Utility Companies
When submitting an application for a cellphone or utility service, your credit report and score may be used to evaluate your request and may result in an outright denial or require you to provide a deposit prior to receiving service.  After you receive service, your report and score may be reviewed on a regular basis to monitor your account.   

Who Cannot See Your Report

Employers, Potential or Existing
Your employer or a potential employer cannot review your report without your written consent.  

Spouse or Ex-Spouse
Your spouse or ex-spouse cannot review your report. 

Any Potential Creditor with Whom You Have Not Applied for Credit
If you have not applied for credit with a company, they cannot access your credit file.   A potential creditor can pull your report for promotional purposes to determine if they should send you an offer of credit but they cannot see what is included in your report. 

If you are having trouble with your credit report or need additional information, please contact SmithMarco P.C. for a free case review.

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