Do Potential Employers Check Credit Reports?

If you want to buy a car, apply for a mortgage, or get a credit card, you probably know that your credit report is one of the primary tools used by lenders to try to assess the likelihood of your default on a loan, and whether you will make timely payments if they extend credit to you.

What you might not realize is that plenty of other people are looking at your credit score besides creditors. In fact, anyone with a “permissible purpose” can gain access to your credit report, including government agencies, child support enforcement agencies, and anyone who wants to be in business with you. One of those “permissible purposes” is potential employers who want to do a credit check. Even your current employer can legally access your credit report, and may choose to do so if you are up for a promotion, or even as part of a routine background check of current employees.

Not all employers require a credit check as part of their conditions of employment. If you want to work in a bank or other financial institution, a credit check will almost certainly be part of your background vetting. But these days, many employers may choose to exercise their legal right to view your credit report as part of your job application. However, unlike some other businesses such as banks or insurance companies, your employer cannot pull your credit report without receiving written permission from you first.

Even if you are not in the market for a car or a home loan, your credit score can play an important part in decisions that affect your life. Maintaining a high credit score is a good idea, and it could make a big difference when you apply for that job, or pay your insurance and utility bills.