Information Needed for a Credit Check

Row of Credit Cards
A close-up of three credit cards. (Image: kunertus/iStock/Getty Images)

A credit check is used to determine someone’s creditworthiness. A credit check can be as simple as getting an applicant’s FICO score or credit rating number or as complex as pulling a merged report of all three credit reporting agencies—Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Knowing what information is needed for a credit check will help you be prepared if you are meeting with a lender or business.

Release of Information

In order for someone to do a complete credit check on you, they will need your permission. Most banks and businesses have clients or potential clients sign release of information forms. If the credit check is part of a pre-approval process to screen someone for a pre-qualified credit offer, businesses may run a partial credit check without your permission. Every time an individual or business runs a credit check on you, it is called an inquiry. Most pre-screened credit checks do not count against your credit score. Multiple checks from credit card companies or lenders can lower your score.

Social Security Number

One important thing needed for a credit check is to have a valid Social Security Number. This is needed to access your credit report. Information contained on the report may include your complete credit history, previous addresses, past employers and relatives. Businesses can query the three credit reporting agencies to retrieve all of your personal information. But without a Social Security Number, a credit check may only display impartial or inaccurate information.

Address

Having the correct address will assure that a credit check pulls up the right information. While the credit report will display current and previous addresses, the information could be inaccurate or outdated. This check allows the person running the credit check to cross-check and verify information. If the information is wrong, a request must be made to the credit reporting agency. A small form will need to be filled out detailing the address changes.

Employment

Giving the businesses running the credit check accurate employment information will also prove beneficial. This will allow them to take a look into your employment history to see how long you were at each job. It will also give them the business names of your past employers so they can call to do a reference check.

Reasons for Credit Checks

There are several reasons why a credit check would have to be conducted. The main reason is when an applicant applies for a credit card. The credit card company will obtain information from the applicant through his application and conduct a credit check. Utility and cellular phone companies will also run a credit check to determine creditworthiness. If the applicant has a low credit rating or previous delinquencies, judgments or late payments, a business has the right to request a security deposit or deny service. Mortgages and car loans also require a credit check before lending to someone.

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