Friday, March 13, 2009

Your Free Annual Credit Report - Who Looks at it and Why [By Jeremy Englewood]

Did you know that if you're applying for a new job or are being considered for promotion, your employer (current or prospective) can ask to see a copy of your credit report? Here's a list of entities that are allowed to request for your report and what they use it for:
Current and prospective employers. Many employers are now requesting for copies of their employees' credit report to conduct background checks, and when considering an employee for promotion or reassignment especially for key or sensitive positions. Before they can get a copy of your credit information, however, employers must get your written authorization and provide certain disclosures.
Government agencies. If you have applied for public funding assistance, government agencies may request to see your credit report to check if you are eligible for funding. Their purpose is to see if you have other sources of income or have any assets they're not currently aware of. If you have kids and are in the midst of a divorce, state and government officials may get a copy of your annual credit report to see if you can make child support payments.
Insurance companies. If you apply for an insurance policy, the insurance company can ask to look at your report in order to check your medical history or see if you have filed health insurance claims in the past.
Collection agencies. Collection agencies can look at your report if they are trying to collect an overdue debt from you. Their purpose is to find out what assets you have. Judgment creditors will also want to look at your report to decide if they will begin collection efforts against you.
Potential creditors. If you have applied for credit, credit companies and lending agencies will usually look at your free annual credit report to see if your credit score is high enough and if you have a good payment history on your other debts and revolving credit accounts.
Landlords and mortgage lenders. Because a home mortgage or rent arrangement is a long term endeavor, mortgage lenders will scrutinize your report before lending you money to buy a home.
Utility companies. Utility companies may ask for a copy of your report from a credit bureau in order to get a picture of your payment history and habits. Your free annual credit report may be a deciding factor on whether you will be allowed to subscribe to certain monthly plans or not.
Grant and student loan lenders. If you're applying for a grant or a private student loan, the lender may ask to see your report in order to check your ability to pay.
Your credit report is a confidential document. While the Federal Credit Reporting Act places certain restrictions on who can get a copy of your report, you should periodically get a copy of your annual credit report free and check to see whether unauthorized parties have been given access to your credit information.
Check out our website for articles on how to get your annual report for free and other useful advice on credit repair. You'll find a wealth of practical and valuable information on credit repair and other personal finance topics.
Jeremy Englewood is a credit manager and writer with over fifteen years experience in the banking industry. His sensible and practical advice on personal finance topics have provided inspiration to people who want to establish or repair their credit. You can read more of his articles and advice on your free annual credit report at
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