Can Your Potential Employer Check Your Credit?

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Your credit is becoming one of the most important items that others use to judge you when making decisions about your reliability. This goes beyond just looking at your credit score to decide if you should qualify for a loan (and what terms you should receive). Insurers, landlords, and cell phone providers might want a look at your credit.

Even some employers are interested in your credit.

Why Would an Employer Want to See Your Credit History?

There are some jobs that might justify a look at your credit report. If you are expected to handle money, your potential employer might want to know that you understand what you are doing. If you will have access to proprietary information and secrets, or if security is somehow involved, employers might want a peek at your credit history. If you have poor credit, there is a chance that your finances are in bad shape -- and that you could be susceptible to a bribe or likely to embezzle.

Some employers are adding a credit check as part of the overall background check before agreeing to hire someone.

Can Prospective Employers Pull Your Credit History?

Before an employer can look at your credit report, he or she has to have your permission. You have to provide your permission and your Social Security number. You can choose to refuse, but there is a chance that the potential employer will assume that you have something to hide if you aren’t willing to submit to a credit check.

Realize, though, that employers aren’t supposed to look at your credit score. Instead, they are supposed to access a version of your credit card specifically designed for employment background check purposes. While there are anecdotes that involve employers that overstep their bounds and ask for more credit information than they should, your potential employer is supposedly limited on what he or she can look at.

Bottom Line

Your credit is important. Not only do lenders take a look at your credit history, but others -- including employers -- can look at it as well. You do have the right to refuse to allow a credit check as part of your application process, but the employer might decide not to hire you as a result of your unwillingness to cooperate with hiring procedure. Before you refuse to allow a credit history check, think the situation through, and determine whether or not refusing is worth the risk of not being hired.

About Miranda Marquit

Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger specializing in financial topics. Her work has appeared in numerous media, online and offline. Her blog is Planting Money Seeds.

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