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Who can View Your Credit Report?

Over the past several years, the internet has become rampant with identity theft and fraud. Thousands of people get their personal information stolen each year, begging the question, who exactly has access to my data? One of the most crucial documents to your identity is your credit report, but you’re not the only one who can view it. In fact, quite a few people and agencies can pull up your credit report. Fortunately, they have a legitimate reason to do so. Here’s a look at just who can view your credit report and why they have access to it.

  • There’s one individual that is always permitted access to your credit report - you! There are literally dozens of different websites that allow you to pull up your credit report whenever you want, however, you can typically only view it for free once a year. After that, you’ll have to sign up for a credit reporting agency’s program, which typically involve a monthly fee.
  • Prospective employers are allowed to view your credit report, although they usually need you’re permission to do so. Often times, job applications will ask if you are willing to consent to a credit check. Many jobs that involve finances require a credit check, as employers want to make sure you’re responsible with your own money before they put you in charge of theirs.
  • Nearly any time you put in your application to rent a home or apartment, your prospective landlord will run a credit check. Obviously, they simply want to make sure you can responsibly pay your rent on time each month. If they find you have a poor credit score, you might be asked to pay a higher monthly rent or put down a larger deposit.
  • Do you own a credit card or two? Chances are you do and you can all but guarantee that your credit card provider is monitoring your credit. It helps them determine interest rates and decide who to send out new account solicitations to.
  • When it comes to applying for insurance, you can probably expect your insurer to view your credit report. Whether it’s car, health, home, or life insurance, many providers base their premiums off of consumer credit reports or at least use them as a major factor. Some insurance providers have even dropped a customer’s coverage after their credit score took a dive.
  • Perhaps the most common reason for someone else to view your credit report occurs when you apply for a new loan, credit card, or just about any line of credit. In most cases, your credit report is the deciding factor in whether or not you’ll be approved. Lenders also use your report to help determine your interest rate - generally, the better your report, the lower your interest rates.
  • Finally, keep in mind that there are several government agencies that can access your credit report without your permission. Agencies, such as the FBI or IRS, can view your report if you’re somehow involved in one of their investigations.
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