Who is Looking at Your Credit Report?
In our last post titled, Credit Reports: Your Credit Life History, we learned that your credit report is an extensive document compiling detailed information about you, your employment and location history, your accounts, your credit cards, your loans, and your payment history. In short, your credit report records how you have handled payments and debt. But now that we know that such a detailed document about your credit life history exists, who is using it?
WHO PROVIDES THE INFORMATION FOUND ON YOUR CREDIT REPORTS?
Let’s start with the companies that provide information. We know that financial institutions and credit card companies are two sources of information on your credit report. Everything from your credit limit to your payment history is provided by these two groups. It makes sense, then, that they are high on the list of people who access your credit report. Whether you are applying for a new credit card, an increase to your credit limit, or negotiating new interest rates, they will access your credit report and check your credit score to see if you are a good candidate. However, what most people don’t know is that many other companies also provide collection and negative debt information to the bureau, such as: cell phone and cable companies, parking tickets, ambulance, government agencies like CRA and Family Responsibility, and lastly, legal judgements pending payment from the court.
WHO PERFORMS CREDIT CHECKS?
Any major purchase that requires financing will give the company access to your credit report: buying a home, buying a car, starting a business, opening a personal line of credit, etc. They will use your credit report to not only gauge your value as an applicant, but to set your interest rates and repayment terms.
However, it’s not only major purchases that require a credit history. Taking advantage of a cell phone contract, buying insurance, and leasing a car all require a credit check. This means that the list of people who can access your credit report includes: financial institutions, credit card companies, cell phone companies, cable providers, auto dealers, retailers, insurance companies, and utilities companies.
But that’s not all! Your credit report and credit score are also important to people like prospective employers, landlords, and the government, who use it to make decisions about you and to verify your trustworthiness.
WHY YOUR CREDIT REPORT IS IMPORTANT
Your credit report is so important that it not only determines whether or not you get that loan or life insurance you’ve been thinking about, but also what your interest rates, repayment terms, and premiums will be. In some cases, it may factor into whether or not you get that job you’ve applied for and that perfect apartment you’ve found! The good news is that it’s never too late to check your credit report and start doing some damage control. If your credit score is virtually non-existent (or worse, if you have a bad credit score), you can start building up your credit report with tools like a secured credit card.