See the results of our 2022 Personal Finance Study!
Does Your Credit Score Show up on a Background Check?
It’s the question everyone is asking: “does your credit score show up on a background check?”
Or maybe they’re asking “why would I have to have a background check?”
Well, those questions and more will soon be answered for you! Buckle in, because you’re about to go on a roller coaster. A roller coaster of knowledge!
When will you get a background check?
Anyone has the ability to run a background check on you with your consent. However, most commonly a person will be asked to undergo a background check if they’re trying to apply for an apartment or a job.
If your credit score is less than ideal, you may be worried it could show up on a background check. Will an employer, a landlord, or an extremely cautious potential new friend judge you differently if a poor score shows up on the background check?
Well, you may not have to worry about that very specific scenario.
Will it or won’t it include your score?
Okay, time to stop putting off the big question you’re here to have answered. Will your credit score appear on a background check?
“In a word, no,” answered Larry P. Smith, an attorney at ProtectingConsumerRights.com. “Credit scores typically do not show up on a background check. Most background checks for employment do not seek credit information, but rather, criminal history. They are typically looking for whether you are dangerous to employ.
"Some pre-employment screenings do go deeper and look at credit. This is usually when the job requires the employee to handle money- as many states are enacting laws to prevent credit checks for employment except for certain circumstances.
"In those instances, a score may be revealed, but again, typically not. Those reports are looking to see whether the person has judgments, has declared bankruptcy, or has a large amount of outstanding debt. Credit scores really do not get revealed in background checks.”
Private investigator Lisa Ribacoff concurred: “Credit scores are NOT provided when we produce reports. We indicate to our clients that unless there is a signed authorization that we can gain access to their reports, then we are not able to even conduct the search. With our findings, we only provide the current and closed accounts as well as payment history and balances.”
So nothing at all to worry about, right? Well, just because a background check won’t turn up your actual credit score doesn’t mean the financial information that does turn up will be all smiles and sunshine.
“The credit score usually isn't revealed on a background check,” explained Roslyn Lash, an Accredited Financial Counselor and the founder of Youth Smart Financial Education Services. “However, your credit history is more likely to show up. Even if the actual score isn't given, a history is actually more revealing since it provides more details including dates, amounts owed, and delinquencies.”
Turning down a background check means you probably won’t get that job or apartment. So the best you can do is just work on your finances now so everything will look good when you do need to get a background check.
Roslyn Lash (@CoachRosLash) is an Accredited Financial Counselor and the Author of The 7 Fruits of Budgeting. She specializes in financial education, adult coaching, and works virtually with adults helping them to navigate through their personal finances i.e. budgeting, debt, and credit repair. Roslyn is a Real Estate Broker and is also the founder of Youth Smart Financial Education Services which specializes in financial literacy. Her advice has been featured in national publications such as USA Today, Forbes, TIME, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, and a host of other media outlets.
Lisa Ribacoff is an Advanced Certified Polygraph Examiner and the Manager of International Investigative Group, Ltd. (@iigpi), Credibility Assessment Division. She is a member of the American College of Forensic Examiners, American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM International). She has been featured on FUSE Media's Web Series "Lie Detector" among many other Morning news programs and talk shows.
Larry P. Smith is a consumer rights attorney, concentrating his practice in the areas of Fair Credit Reporting Act and Fair Debt Collections Practices violations, as well as consumer fraud claims and lemon law. He is the Managing Partner at SmithMarco, P.C. in Chicago, Illinois.