The Kitchen Table

Who Can Check My Credit Report?

  • May 01, 2019

Do you know who has access to your credit report? Can someone pull your credit without permission? Today I want to share with you some important information about when credit can be pulled, and what affect credit inquiries have on your credit score.


Who can check my Credit Report?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) limits who can view your credit report and for what reasons. Generally, the following people and organizations can view your credit report:

You: You are entitled to review the information on your credit report. Viewing your own credit report does not affect your credit score.

Lenders: When you apply for credit from a credit card company, finance company or other lender, that potential creditor can ask to review your credit report. These are considered "hard inquiries" and can affect your credit score. Lenders must have your permission to check your credit report for your applications on new credit. However, your permission is not required in every instance. For example, your credit history may be accessed without your approval in order to make a pre-approved credit offer. In fact, the only instance in which explicit, written permission is required is for employment purposes.

Landlords: When you apply to rent an apartment or home, you're essentially asking the landlord to trust that you will pay your rent on time every month. You're asking him or her to extend you a kind of credit, which allows them the right to ask for a copy of your credit report and score. Landlords must have your permission to check your credit report.

Insurers: An application with an insurance company is a kind of like a financial account, and insurers can ask to review your credit report when you apply with them for coverage. Insurance companies must have your permission to check your credit report.

Employers: Employers may request to view your credit report to make hiring decisions. However, no employer can review your credit report without your written consent.

What does it really mean when someone pulls credit without authorization?

Let me make this very clear, inquiries are prompted when you or a lender access your credit report. But two types of inquiries are prompted by two different types of report assessments.

A “hard inquiry” is created when YOU are actively trying to secure new credit. For example, when you are shopping around for a new credit card, mortgage rates, or applying for an installment loan.

The other type of inquiry is a “soft inquiry” (which doesn’t affect your credit) isn’t created by credit card comparison shopping—think of the promotional fliers you get in the mail saying you’re “pre-approved.”

Can a collection agency request your credit history without your consent?

Although there are restrictions on who can access your credit report, your permission is not required in all cases. When you owe a debt, the creditor has the right to check your credit report without your consent.

Therefore, when a collection agency purchases a debt that you owe, they may check your credit report periodically. Obtaining your report for the purposes of collecting a debt is considered a permissible purpose under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). You can opt out of pre-approved mailing list offers of credit, but you cannot prevent access to your credit file in most other instances, including account monitoring by your existing creditor.

Final thought: Inquires can have a negative impact on your credit score. Although the impact is typically very small, it’s impossible to say how much, because the amount will vary depending on each individual’s unique credit history.


**Employees of LPI Loans and our affiliates are not attorneys and LPI Loans DOES NOT provide any legal advice and users of this web site should consult with their own attorney for legal advice.

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