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Who Sees Your Credit Report and Who Does Not?

While your credit report will affect you in a surprising number of situations, it will not affect many other aspects of your life. You can expect that your report will be viewed by the following:

  • Creditors when you apply for credit. A low score can mean you will be denied credit or pay a higher interest rate.
  • Employers in most states to evaluate you for hiring, promotions, and other employment purposes. This is somewhat limited in a number of states and cities, such as California, Chicago, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New York City, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
  • Government agencies trying to collect child support and when considering your eligibility for public assistance.
  • Insurance companies using special credit scores for homeowners and auto insurance.
  • Landlords when deciding whether to rent an apartment to you.
  • Utilities sometimes when reviewing your credit score to determine whether to charge you a security deposit—not as to whether to provide you service.

Your credit report should not be a problem in the following situations:

  • Your application for federal student loans and grants. Except for parents, graduate students, and professional school students applying for PLUS loans or anyone applying for a private student loan.
  • Your credit report will not damage the creditworthiness of your friends or relations, and need not even affect your spouse or other family members. For example, a creditor is not allowed to look at your credit record if your spouse, child, or parent applies for credit and they are not relying on your income or assets.
  • Your reputation in the community. No one can obtain your credit record for curiosity, gossip, or to determine your reputation. Your credit record is just between you and creditors—your neighbors and friends should never see it.
  • Divorce, child custody, immigration, and other legal proceedings. Your credit report shouldn’t be used in proceedings such as applications for citizenship or to register to vote.