Who can view a consumer’s credit report?

Consumers may already know that they are entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three credit reporting agencies, but some may not be aware of who can see if they have bad credit history and under what circumstances their credit reports can be accessed by others.

According to the Federal Reserve, lenders from whom a consumer is seeking credit can access the consumer’s credit report. Lenders can also view a borrower’s credit report once the loan has been granted.

Companies that provide services to a consumer may also view his or her credit report. Such companies include cell phone, telephone and utility companies. Landlords and anyone with a “legitimate business need” to know a consumer’s credit history may also view the report, according to the Federal Reserve.

Government agencies may view a consumer’s credit report if that consumer has applied for some form of government assistance. Insurers may also view a consumer’s report, either before or after granting an insurance policy.

Employers may, under certain circumstances, wish to see a consumer’s credit report. According to the Federal Reserve, however, they are not guaranteed the right to view the report and can only access it if the consumer provides permission.