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Credit Report Nuts and Bolts, Part 6 of 6: Who can see your credit report?

Creditors – can look at your report whenever you apply for credit, such as a mortgage, car loan, or credit cards.

Employers – can look at your report, but only under certain circumstances and only if you give them written authorization. Employers are allowed to look at your report to evaluate you for hiring, promotions, and other employment purposes – but I understand that it is done only with your permission in most states. A few states, such as Washington and Hawaii, have banned employers from using credit reports unless a good credit record is related to a job’s qualifications. (I will try to blog on this Washington state law in a later post)

Government agencies – some can look, but only if searching for hidden income or assets – usually only certain agencies can do this such as those trying to collect child support.

Insurance companies – home and auto insurers now use specialized credit scores to decide whether to issue you a policy and how much to charge for it.

Landlords – when deciding whether to rent you an apartment or home.

Utility companies – when deciding how much of a utility deposit (if any) to seek – but not in deciding whether to extend utility services.

Student loans – Usually, I am told by the NCLC’s Guide to Surviving Debt, that a credit score is irrelevant to obtaining government student loans, but it could be a factor in obtaining private (not government guaranteed) student loans. There may be an exception though, for Parent PLUS loans wherein parents–or professional students such as dental, law school, and medical school students–are seeking student loans in order to finance a child’s education.

Divorce, child custody, immigration, citizenship applications, registering to vote and other legal proceedings – your credit report should not be used against you, subject to a few limitations and circumstances.