Your credit score is a key component of your financial identity. It shows what state your current level of credit is in and indicates how much access to certain financial opportunities you might have.
A credit score will let you know if you need to improve your credit to get more opportunities. That said, it is important to know who can access your credit score.
People with Access to Your Credit Score
Your current employer, or potential one, actually does not have the ability to access your credit score. That is a common misconception.
What they can do depends on the state, but they could pull up a modified version of your credit report that will not contain any of your account numbers or personal information that could pose a risk to you and your financial well-being.
Other credit related information is open for them to see, however.
That being said, your credit reports are unable to be pulled by any employer unless you give written consent for them to do so. If you are turned down for a job because of the contents of the report, the company is required by law to give you an “adverse action notice,” which lets you know what made them decide to deny you.
If you decide to open up an account with a bank, the bank you are working with may decide to do a check on your credit – even if you do not have a credit card attached to the account.
They do this to make sure that you will not pose a serious risk of overdrawing from your account and costing them money.
Your credit might also be pulled up by the bank if you opt in for overdraft protection, as it is a line of credit.
Though it is not entirely certain that they will, many utility or cell phone companies may pull up your credit reports. Many states have laws preventing utility companies from denying you service due to bad credit, but many may still charge you a deposit fee.
Creditors and Lenders
Creditors and lenders will pull up your credit to check your credit worthiness. They want to be sure that if they approve you for a credit card or loan, that they will be able to get their money back. That said, the better your credit history is, the more likely it is that you will be approved and receive terms that are favorable.
Insurance companies will often pull up your credit because statistically, those who have lower credit are more likely to file claims. The insurance company you are working with will get a hold of your credit-based insurance scores, unless using such scores has been prohibited by your state.
There are times when collectors may decide to look over your credit reports for your contact information or any data about activities on your account. This information will let them know how to get a hold of you and determine if you will be able to pay back the balance that you currently owe.
Your landlord may pull up your credit report because they want to see if you have a history of making your rent payments on time. The higher your credit, the more likely it is that you have been paying your rent in a timely fashion.
If a government agency has a legitimate reason to pull up your credit report, they will be able to do so. They might be looking for your contact information, figuring out how much you can afford to provide for child support, determining if you have unclaimed assets or income, if you apply for public assistance, etc.
Entities with Court Orders
Having a legitimate business reason for your credit to be pulled up may not be required for a court order. If an entity is given a court order that allows them access to your credit, they are allowed to do so. That being said, these kinds of court orders are not easy to obtain and thus are very rare.
People Without Access to Your Credit Score
Other than the entities mentioned above, no one else besides yourself should be able to access your credit score and overall credit history. Your credit score will never be made available to the general public, unless you accidently post about it on social media.
Should someone use your personal information to fraudulently obtain your credit history, you have the option to sue them for:
- The amount of damages they caused
How to Get Your Own Credit Score
There are several ways that you can obtain a copy of your credit score and credit report. Places like Free Credit Report offer you a look at your credit score for free. You are also entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from all three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.