One of the issues that has received a lot of attention lately is that of employers checking the credit of job applicants.
Supposedly, an employer can only look at your credit report — and only a version that is meant for employers to see.
Employers are supposed to get your permission before checking your credit report, and they are expected to stay away from your credit score. (There are some anecdotes involving employers who check credit scores, but credit bureaus claim they don’t knowingly give scores out to employers.) Many people are upset that employers are asking to see your credit report, while others contend that it is a necessity for some jobs.
What happens if employers start checking credit scores?
Do You Want to be Reduced to a Number?
While you can deny your permission for a potential employer to check your credit report, there are concerns that you might not get the job if an employer thinks you have something unsavory to hide. Even so, when an employer has to look at an entire credit report, he or she must see the whole history — and possibly even see a statement you might have included about mitigating circumstances related to negative items on your credit report.
If prospective employers were to look at your credit score, any nuance would be gone. Suddenly, you could be dismissed from consideration for work in the same way that some lenders deny you a loan due to your credit score. Some employers might still consider you, even with a less than perfect credit score, but your score could negatively influence an employer’s opinion of you.
Shouldn’t Some Jobs Require Good Credit?
On the other hand, some contend that there are jobs where good credit is a must.
A credit score would help employers see, at a glance, who is most likely to fit the proper criteria. It’s much faster than going through an entire credit report; all it takes is a quick look. Some of the jobs that might warrant a credit score check include:
- Security position: If you are going to be a security guard, a low credit score may indicate money problems. Employers might worry that you will be vulnerable to bribes.
- Position handling money: It might be appropriate for those who are in positions of trust with money to be subject to a credit score check. After all, if your low credit score is an indication of money problems, employers might worry that you could be tempted to embezzle.
- Knowledge of propriety information: Those with access to sensitive or proprietary information might be in a compromising situation, and employers could worry that they might sell secrets to get out of money trouble.
What About Those without Extensive Credit Histories?
With a credit report check, employers can see what has happened for someone without an extensive credit history. However, a credit score many not reflect the responsible habits of someone without much of a credit history. This means that someone might be passed over just because they haven’t been using very much credit.
And, for someone who is scrupulously responsible with money, that can be quite unfair.