KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – When you apply for a loan, you expect the lender to pull your credit report. After all, you’re borrowing money.
However, certain other types of companies can also legally look at your credit report, even if you’re not borrowing money.
It seems reasonable that a credit card company can look at your credit report when you apply for a card. However, if you’re a customer, that company can look at your credit report anytime, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Additionally, prospective creditors can access certain information in your credit file to determine whether to make you what’s known as a “pre-screened” offer for a new credit card.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act also allows credit reporting companies to release your credit report to insurance companies who may be either offering “insurance coverage or setting insurance premium charges,” says the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Additionally, prospective insurers can access parts of your credit file to pre-screen you for insurance offers. Again, federal law allows insurers to do this but also gives you the ability to opt out of pre-screening.
As part of a background check, employers can request a copy of your credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows credit reporting companies to release your report for employment purposes. However, the employer must get your written permission to pull your credit report beforehand.
When you sign up for phone, TV or internet service, the service provider might check your credit. It’s not exactly a loan, but some companies want to make sure you’re likely to pay your bill. Also, the telecom provider may want to check if you owe money to the provider itself or to another telecom provider.
If you sign up for water, gas or electricity, you might need to submit to a credit check. Utility bills are generally paid in arrears, meaning you’re billed for usage after the fact. So in a sense, these companies are making you a short-term loan.
However, if you have a low credit score, the utility might not have confidence in your ability to pay bills on time and might charge you an upfront deposit.
If you are looking for a new apartment or home, your landlord-to-be might want a peek at your credit report.
Renting is a long-term agreement. While rent is not typically reported to the credit bureaus, your credit report can give an indication of your overall likelihood to pay bills on time. Again, if you have a poor score, you might have to provide a larger security deposit.