Credit Scores: Who Sees Them, And Why You Should Monitor Yours
Who Can See Your Credit Score?
First and foremost, you
are always able to see your credit score. Banks and financial institutions can see your score as well, as can any lending business (like a credit card company) or insurance company. Because these businesses are trying to assess how trustworthy you’ll be with their
money, they want to see how well you’ve managed your own
Additionally -- and this may come as a surprise -- employers are starting to look at credit scores before hiring applicants, more so than ever before. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that everyone and anyone has access to your financial information; employers only access credit information if they choose to perform background tests on applicants and/or employees.
In fact, any organization or investigation that requires a background check will most likely take a look at your credit score, too. Anyone heavily involved in business transactions or lending institutions will likely be asked to provide credit information before entering partnerships, and landlords may even take a look.
Remember -- allowing someone to view your credit score does not
mean that they necessarily have access to your other personal information. Your credit score is merely a measurement of how well you handle your money.
Why It’s Important To Know Your Credit Score
Chances are, you only think about your credit score when you’re applying for a loan or trying to open a new credit card. In all honesty, most people don’t pay much attention to their credit scores on a regular basis. But taking a few minutes every now and again to check on your score can be extremely beneficial.
First, it can help you assess how well you’re handling your finances, and you won’t get any unwelcome surprises if and when you apply for a new line of credit. Your financial decisions can affect your credit score for up to seven years, and it’s easy to forget about a few missed payments after seven years -- until you try to apply for a new line of credit, and realize that your score isn’t as great as you thought it was.
Second, regularly monitoring your credit score will allow you to detect identity theft as soon as possible. Many banks and financial institutions provide identity theft protection programs, but all too often, hackers can go unnoticed for so long that it’s impossible to repair the damages.
And third, knowing what your credit score is supposed
to be will help you determine if an error has occurred. Although credit score software is constantly being improved for accuracy, no computer software is completely flawless. The faster you can detect and report the error, the easier it will be to fix.
Your credit score isn’t permanent; it changes with every financial decision you make. And because it’s something that you have direct control over, and something that affects your future financial opportunities, you have every right to access it regularly.