Who’s checking your credit?

Consumers underestimate the impact of credit scores–and many consumers don’t even know how often their credit scores are used to evaluate them.


Utilities, insurers and mobile carriers may all look at your credit scores before doing business with you.  Prospective employers generally don’t look at your credit scores, but may well look at your credit report.

It blows my mind that 30 percent of consumers don’t know that landlords check credit scores.  Either they’ve never rented, or they’ve forgotten they signed something that authorized the landlord to run their credit, or maybe the landlord is old school and ran their credit without specific authorization.  Or maybe their landlord didn’t check their credit, which would be really old school in a day when some landlords are even running criminal background checks.  (Landlords should be aware of recent Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines regarding criminal checks.)


Your one-page credit score isn’t your “credit report”.  A credit score–actually, there are three, one from each major credit bureau–is only a small part of your credit information, basically your credit history’s grade.  Your credit report has both your scores plus a detailed record of your payments to creditors.  It will also show any accounts that are in default and have been sold to a collection agency, and any “UDs” (Unlawful Detainers, aka eviction notices) served on you.

The most accurate credit history is what’s called a “blended” credit report, which has information from all three credit bureaus.  Why do I ask for a blended report?  Because occasionally I’ll see a “derogatory” (credit account in poor standing) on one bureau’s report but not on the other two.

Bear in mind that different industries use different credit report formats–the lending industry has its own, for example–and that your score(s) will differ depending on the format.

Finally, if you’re new to this country, welcome, and run out and get a credit card or three.  Your foreign credit history isn’t readily available to U.S. landlords.

Besides, credit is the American way 🙂

copyright © John Fyten 2016


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