There are many reasons why EVERYBODY should have credit monitoring for all 3 of their credit reports. Credit reports are published by three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
Different states have different requirements for accessing your credit report without your consent; some allow any person to view your credit report while others require you to give written consent or provide a court order.
Your credit report is NOT an open book. Only individuals and companies that YOU GIVE PERMISSION to can legally pull your credit. The Fair Credit Reporting Act has set forth rules that govern who can check your credit report.
What Are Non-authorized inquiries
It is possible for unauthorized people to check your credit reports. Always investigate inquiries that you think are not right. These can be the first indicators that someone has stolen, or is in the process of stealing your identity. Again, this is why we have all of our clients sign up for credit monitoring so that they are never taken by surprise!
Once you have a credit monitoring system, you should set up and allow alerts to be sent to you immediately of any activity to your credit report. Having credit monitoring brings you peace of mind and elevates the need to constantly check your credit.
We used to tell people to check their credit reports quarterly to protect their credit. Now with data breaches and hackers constantly attacking companies. You need to be more proactive!
The people who can legally pull your credit include the following
Banks and lending institutions
If you need a loan from a bank, they will pull your credit. One of the forms you will fill out and sign will give them the authorization they need. Financial institutions do this to determine the risk of lending you money.
If you have a good credit score, they are more likely to approve your application. Also, the bank will charge you cheaper interest rates.
Remember, if you make multiple loan applications, your credit report may end up with several hard inquiries, which will lower your credit score.
Only apply for a loan after investigating the bank and learning what their lending criteria is. If it’s not plainly stated in the paperwork, ASK. Call them up. You don’t want to lower your credit score unnecessarily.
Credit card and financial agencies
If you apply for credit with any credit card company, the credit grantor must examine your report. Some creditors will do what is called a “soft inquiry” meaning they will pull your credit, BUT it will not affect your credit score. Most companies will do a “HARD” inquiry and that will effect your score.
So again be careful of who you apply to. Make sure you fall within their lending criteria. Also once you have the credit card, be aware that your credit card company may periodically pull your credit. This is so they can gauge whether they should increase or decrease your limit.
Often, your credit company will ask you to authorize the inquiry before they pull your report. However, it is not a legal requirement. They can do so without consulting you.
How the Credit Card Act of 2009 put a stop to a VERY unfair credit card tactic
The Credit Card Act of 2009 limited the process of using universal defaults. Prior to 2009, when credit card companies would pull your credit. They could increase your interest rate simply because you were late paying SOMEONE ELSE!
You could be on time w/ them. But they would take the fact that you are late on lets say your cable bill, or another credit card and increase your rate. You could go from having a credit card with a 9% interest rate to getting your bill and seeing they are now charging you 24% interest!
The Credit Card Act of 2009 makes them give you 45 days notice before they do something like that. That way you can either find another card, or call them and negotiate a better rate.
The FCRA allows insurance companies to check your credit report when you apply for insurance. They can review your credit report every time you renew your coverage or policy.
If you apply for a job with some companies, the employer may check your credit report. Before they pull the report, they have to notify you.
Unfortunately if you have poor credit and you are up for management positions or a position that will handle credit / finances of the company. You may not get the job.
In those cases you should be up front with the person conducting the interview and let them know about your score and how it DOES NOT define who you are.
Unfortunately, you can’t just opt out of the credit check. If you tell them you don’t want your credit pulled, they may fail to consider you for the job.
Debt collectors can check credit reports to assess the financial situation of the debtor. They also do this when they are searching for addresses. A debt collector may threaten to sue you if you don’t pay.
But often times that is an empty threat. And its actually illegal for them to threaten to sue you, if they truly have not intention of filing a suit against you.
Note that not every debt collector has the right to pull your reports. Different states have different rules.
Bad credit is a nuisance that it will even kill your efforts in renting a house. This includes apartments and condos. Landlords check your credit to evaluate whether you are likely to pay the rent.
They are not just looking at how you pay your credit cards and loans. They are looking for an evidence that any previous landlords had to evict or take you court.
With more and more uninsured people, self pay accounts are a big part of a hospitals bottom line. Hospitals have started to pull credit on patients to determine how they will treat these accounts.
Take a good look at the admission form next time you go to see a medical provider. Somewhere on there will be a short notice advising you they may pull credit.
While legally medical providers can not turn you away when you arrive in their emergency rooms. Even if you owe them money and even have a history of never paying your medical bills. If you go to the Emergency room, they have to see you. This is your right under a federal statute called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act
Mainly medical providers use the credit reports to determin the risk in treating you. If you fail to pay, is it cost effective for them to hire a collection agency or is it best for them to charge it off right away?
If you are a self pay account, and a non-emergency or elective treatment they may make you pay in advance of service, put down a large upfront payment or if your credit is good, they will advance terms or refer you to a medical financial company they work with that can finance your procedure.
Utility companies can also inquire on your credit. The inquiries can either be hard or soft. With utility companies, the inquiries can be many. The inquiries can be as a result of electricity, gas, water, cell phone, TV, the internet, property management, and so on.
You can pull your own credit report
You can check your credit report for free by using a annualcreditreport.com but that report will not show you your credit score. You are entitled to one free credit report a year from them. If you wish to view your report every day, you have to subscribe to services that enable consumers to do so, such as the ones listed below:
In conclusion, make it a habit to monitor your credit report for any unauthorized inquiries. Once your identy is stolen its a long hard road to clean up someone elses mess!
Stop them before they can do a lot of damage!
This article has outlined for you all the people who can legally pull your credit and the reasons they would do so.
Only you and any financial institutions with which you have established a business relationship can access your credit report. If anyone else requests to pull your credit report without your consent, this is considered as an invasion of privacy and misuse of personal information.