Who's looking at my credit

When
  • Usually upon your initial application for credit. Then, usually just immediately prior to funding any loan or credit.
  • At regular intervals during the term of your loan.
  • Many creditors, especially credit card companies, look at your credit reports monthly searching for recent bad credit history or to predict your financial stress, sudden default or other signs your account might be in trouble.
  • When looking to give you unsolicited credit offers. This is usually known as a soft inquiry, meaning it does not effect your credit score. This is some times done immediately after you have applied for credit, which is known as a trigger. With the exception of soft inquires and triggers, your permission for them to look at your credit is required.
Why
  • To better understand your credit history.
  • To determine your credit risk.
  • To determine amount and terms of your loan/credit.
  • To monitor your on-going credit health.
When
  • For Governmental purposes permitted by applicable law.
  • Only when you make an application to a government entity will they be required to get your permission to look at your credit.
Why
  • To additionally verify your identity, especially the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Criminal investigations especially under the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
  • Results of criminal convictions.
  • To verify your credit and identity for such things as student loans and other loan guarantee programs.
  • To verify your information if you apply for governmental assistance programs, such as disaster relief, Welfare or Medicaid.
  • Internal Revenue Service for their needs in identifying you and collecting taxes.
  • State and local governments generally use your credit reports for criminal investigations, warrants, court judgments, small claims, bankruptcy, collections for child support, and your employment.
When
  • For information about a lawsuit.
  • For the enforcement of unpaid judgments.
  • Liens.
  • Child Support related collections.
  • It is not necessary to obtain your prior permission for courts or court appointees to look at your credit. Lawyers are governed under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Why
  • As a result of a judgment, including small claims.
  • To assist Plaintiff's and defendants in their lawsuit.
  • Assist Plaintiff's in collections.
When
  • Collecting on overdue, unpaid or defaulted accounts and obligations.
  • Collecting on an unpaid judgment.
  • Collecting on a lien or wage garnishment.
  • Collecting on child support.
  • It is not necessary to obtain your prior permission for debt collectors to look at your credit. However, they are governed under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Why
  • To assist in their collection efforts.

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