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Who Else Looks At Your Credit Score?

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We all know that our credit score is the primary source of information used by a perspective lender as they’re making the decision to approve or deny our credit application. What we don’t know is that with increasing frequency, our credit or FICO score is being used in places other than banks and mortgage lenders. In an economy where it is proving more difficult to get any type of loan or contract where you get the goods now and pay for it later, keeping our credit score as high as possible is even more important. Beside the mortgage lender, who else is looking at our credit score?

Cell Phones

If you’re getting a contract based cell plan such as those that come with IPhones and other high end smart phones, expect the company to check your credit. Verizon says that they don’t use your actual FICO score but instead, a proprietary scoring system that tells the representative how likely you are not to pay your cell phone bill.

Those with bad credit will likely be turned down for the contract but others may be forced to supply a security deposit of $250 or more per line, or you may be redirected to a prepaid phone. What is for certain is that your credit score affect your ability to get a cell phone plan.

Insurance

The insurance industry has done their homework and they know that the higher your credit score, the less claims you will file. Although that isn’t true for everybody, the data suggest that you’re more of a risk with a lower credit score. This causes your premium to be higher than others with a higher credit score than you.

Employers

You might not think it’s fair but it’s happening with more frequency. A 2010 study found that 60% of employers are checking applicants’ credit scores, an increase of more than 100% just seven years earlier. In the eyes of those who have to make a decision about you after talking with you for only a brief period of time, a solid credit score speaks of discipline and responsibility. Especially if you’re applying for a job that requires you to handle money, expect your credit report to be pulled before you get a job offer.

Landlord

You knew your credit score was too low to qualify for a mortgage so you figured that renting would be the best way? Although it’s true that your credit score can be a little lower and still qualify for lease, the landlord will most likely check your score. Landlords know that eviction proceedings are often long and expensive so spending a few dollars now to check your credit history is money well spent on their part.

Credit reports are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Soon lenders may be able to get all of your payment history including child support, daycare, and others. All of your spending habits are closely watched so making sure that you’re responsible with your money will present a credit score to all of the above parties that assures you get the best deal possible.

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7 Responses to “Who Else Looks At Your Credit Score?”

  1. Tim,
    Good call on the landlord graf. I learned the hard way that if you’re getting a roommate and both signing the lease, either check his/her credit or make sure the landlord does.

    Otherwise an eviction notice might tell you that your roommate’s personal finance habits are lackluster.

    -Christian L.

  2. Modest Money says:

    Well I’m glad I have pretty good credit. It sounds like a bad credit score can really hold you back in a variety of ways. This is just further reinforcement that they need to be teaching this kind of stuff in schools. Young people are making all kinds of bad financial decisions and then paying for it for years after.

    • Scott says:

      Or maybe parents could just teach accountability and responsibility in general to their kids at home? That’s really what this all boils down to. Credit scores and interest rates are, unlike the stock market, not a zero-sum game – everyone can have a high score if we’re all responsible and accountable.

  3. elloo says:

    Physicians and dentists want your social security number to pull your credit report and score if you are a new patient. They have no business asking for your SS number.

    • Scott says:

      IMHO, they have no business rendering services without first providing a quote. This is a huge problem with how medical/dental care is administered in the US today. We’ll service you now and send you a bill for “whatever” it costs later? In 99% of practices, you can’t pay up front even if you want to. So they force you to pay later and agree to have your credit report pulled so that they can make sure you (usually) will… it’s ridiculous.

  4. Ray says:

    I was surprised to see a hard pull from a company that I had applied too for employment. your right supposedly a higher credit score tells them your more responsible fiscally which maybe an indicator of other things.

  5. Scott says:

    Remember, no one can do a “hard” pull on your report without your authorization (check the fine print). If someone does, please prosecute them.


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