As a consumer in Canada, you've probably had your credit report checked a time or two. Perhaps you had applied for a new credit card, or purchased your first home, or even leased/ purchased a car.
We all know that when we seek new forms of credit, our credit report is often reviewed and assessed. Don’t be surprised when a credit card issuer or mortgage provider checks your credit report… since they need to know how risky of a client you are.
But did you know that there are other entities who can check your credit report, even if they are not considering lending to you? In the information age, your credit history follows you wherever you go and is something can have a profound impact on your life. So, when are companies able to run a credit check against you?
First, can they run a credit check without your consent?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. If you enter into a business relationship with a company, it’s typically taken as implied consent for them to check your credit report.
Some companies may also pre-screen your credit score to “pre-approve” you for credit, although these are not counted as hard credit checks and will not have an impact on your credit report.
Hard vs. Soft Look
A credit inquiry is when a potential lender checks your credit report to determine the level of risk you are as a borrower. An important aspect to remember when it comes to soft and hard credit report inquiries is that soft pulls do not negatively impact your score, whereas a hard inquiry will. Only hard inquiries are listed on your credit report and are available for potential lenders to see.
So, who can pull your credit report?
Landlords and Realtors
You've finally found the perfect apartment to rent. You go to fill out the application when you notice that they are requesting to see your credit information. This practice is becoming more and more popular nowadays as landlords use your credit information to screen for potentially troublesome tenants. Realtors can also check your credit report. These count only as soft inquiries.
Employers can ask to obtain your credit information when you are applying for a new job. The rationalization is that someone with poor credit might be an irresponsible type of person. It indicates a lack of reliability to employers, which is yet another reason it's so important to build and maintain your credit score. Your next job could depend on it! This type of credit check is a soft inquiry.
If you apply for a new policy, your insurance provider might ask if they can see your credit information. A poor credit score can indicate you might not pay your premiums on time. An insurer may also check your credit report to determine if you qualify for potential discounts on your insurance. These are also soft inquiries.
Different government agencies may access your credit information for various reasons. Perhaps they need information to locate you, or maybe it's part of an investigation. Your credit score can also determine whether or not you are eligible for certain government assistance programs and benefits. Believe it or not, the government can and does access credit information in Canada. it is a soft inquiry.
Debt collectors can perform credit pulls as they have essentially bought your debt and need to know the risks that go along with their purchases. These are soft inquiries.
You may get a soft credit check when you're signing up for your new internet provider or a new wireless phone line. Utility companies use this information to determine whether or not you pay your bills on time. If you struggle poor credit, you might have to put down a deposit first before they open your new account.
Anyone with a Court Order
Although very uncommon, court orders can be issued to obtain someone's credit information, providing they make a good enough case for it being necessary, however it's a soft inquiry.
Banks can check your credit report when you apply for any lending product such as a mortgage, loan or a line of credit. These checks are hard inquiries. Banks can also check your credit score from time to time throughout your relationship so they can know what products to offer you. These are soft inquiries.
Credit checks from lenders are hard inquiries because they are usually the result of you applying for a loan.
Car dealers can check your credit report if you’re working out financing options with them. These are hard inquiries to approve you for financing.
As you can see, a poor credit score can affect you in so many ways. The simple act of cleaning up your credit report can have an enormous impact on almost every aspect of your life. If you need to improve your credit score, don't wait any longer. Just get it done! We have one of the easiest ways to improve your credit score: the self savings loan!