Lenders. To make informed lending decisions, lenders need to rely heavily on credit to determine if you are a reliable person to lend money to. These are considered “permissible purposes” under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and they don’t require your consent to pull your report.
Landlords. When renting out an apartment to you, landlords will typically pull your credit score – they are basically giving you an extended loan. Using an online rent payment service like WilliamPaid.com is a great idea because you can opt-in to have your rent payments reported and will show a potential landlord that you are responsible and have a good rental payment history.
Employers. Some employers review a potential candidate’s credit file to evaluate if the employee will be trustworthy, responsible and accountable. They can also use your credit file to verify other information given by the employee or to scan for fraud. If a potential employer wants to look at your credit file, you must first give your consent.
Insurance Companies. Many insurance companies will use your credit score to determine your rates – the better your score, the lower your rates will be. Insurance companies can pull your credit file without prior consent under the FCRA.
Utility Companies. They will review a customer’s credit history to determine whether a security deposit will be required. If you have poor credit, you may end up paying out-of-pocket before you can get your utilities hooked up.
Rental Car Companies. Some rental car companies will pull your credit before giving you a car – they are lending you a car, which can be a big responsibility and they want to know that you are responsible and accountable.
Debt Collectors. If you’re behind on paying your bills, you may be contacted by a debt collector, who will want to know how financially responsible you are and may pull your credit report.
Although this may seem daunting, there are a few easy ways to keep your credit in check:
- Regularly check your credit. If your report contains incorrect information, correct it immediately. Credit bureaus must correct any mistakes within 30 days of your receipt of the report.
- Educate yourself. Learn what impacts your credit score and what will help or hinder your ability to build credit.
- Always pay your bills on time. It seems obvious, but if you slip up, that will be reflected in your credit report. Your payment history is the greatest factor in determining your credit score – it makes up 35% of your score.