Anyone can ask for a copy of your credit report, but not everyone can get it! Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), only entities with a legitimate need for the information contained on your report will be granted access. So who needs the information?
Legitimate Credit Report Requesters
Most requests for your credit report are actually initiated by you. When you apply for a loan or a new credit card, the lender will request a copy of your report to check out your credit history and determine if you are a high risk or not. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the following are permissible uses of a credit report:
- Offering credit
- Reviewing a credit account
- Collecting on a credit account
- Offering insurance coverage
- Setting insurance premium charges
- Determining eligibility for government benefits or licenses
- Reviewing a mortgage or rental application
This means that credit card companies, banks, mortgage lenders, landlords, insurance agents, and government agencies can all request and receive a copy of your credit report. Employers may also get a copy of your credit report for the purposes of prospective employment, promotion, reassignment, or retention in your current job, but you must provide written consent before they will be able to get it.
Other Reasons People Want To View Your Credit Report
A credit reporting agency may also send out your credit report in response to a court order, subpoena, or for a child support issue. Also, with your written permission, your credit report can be sent to anyone you want to send it to.
One thing that surprises people is that your credit report information will also be released to creditors or insurers who are looking to market their services to trustworthy borrowers. If you have a decent credit history, you have probably gotten these “prescreened” or “preapproved” offers for credit cards or insurance policies in the mail. If this makes you uncomfortable—and it probably should—you can opt out of this service by visiting the Opt-Out website.
Is There Anything You Can Do To Stop Organizatons From Reviewing Your Credit Report?
There is nothing you can do to stop legitimate organizations from accessing your credit report, especially if you are seeking credit. However, you can keep track of who is requesting the information and make sure the information they are getting is accurate by annually reviewing your credit reports. If you are having trouble with debt collectors or unapproved businesses reviewing your credit report contact me online or call me directly at 415.802.0137.