How many people know what your credit history is?

Do you have an idea of how many have run a credit check on you?

Before even thinking about it really hard, you realize that lots of people and organizations might have already run various levels of background and consumer credit checks on you, at different times throughout your life.

This might have happened with or without your consent, awareness and before the days when written and signed consent and privacy laws stepped in on behalf of consumers and personal rights. It does not appear that the advocates of privacy rights can claim to have won the battle either.

Nothing new really, it is the private and personal interest versus the general society economical interest overpowering the individual. This debate and battle still rages on, but as far as background credit checks investigative verification specialists are concerned this is information available in the public domain to inform, prepare and empower all who have reasons to investigate and choose to seek its wisdom.

Nowadays credit checks are standard for any type of management or sales position. If you have recently applied for employment and read carefully all the paperwork you have certainly noticed that your future employer reserve the right to run a background check and in one form or the other is asking you to give them permission to do so. This background check most likely includes the analysis of your credit report.

It is your right to refuse to sign the authorization or to specify that you don’t want them to access your credit report information, but guess what; most companies would never consider hiring someone who didn’t sign the authorization, any more than we would hire a convicted mass murderer.

If you have collections, a bankruptcy or repossession on your credit history, you should discuss it with the employer before they do the credit check. Some will be understanding, and some won’t. It’s an unfortunate paradox that a negative credit history can keep you from getting a good job but the old “the rich get richer” adage is definitely alive and well.

From a legal stand point a credit check should be used only where the information is necessary for job-related purposes. Court cases under Title VII have held that requiring good credit as a condition of employment can have a discriminatory result, since disproportionately more non-whites than whites live below the poverty level.

Even if a credit check is necessary for the job in question, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (a federal law) requires employers to notify applicants if they are not hired due to the information contained in a credit report. Moreover, some state laws require employers to notify applicants when a consumer credit report is requested.

All this though comforting still does not change the reality of a society which always favor financial stability based on official records where the details of the individual human experience are not even considered a factor.

Therefore a word of advice for the wise, taking good care of your credit history nowadays is not only about purchasing power, it may very well make the difference between a wealthy life style and being cast at the margin of society, below poverty level, without even hope for recovery since more and more employers are not willing to hire individuals with bad credit history.

Mark Van Neem