Since credit reports contain sensitive personal information, access to them is limited.
The three main credit report bureaus--TransUnion, Equifax and Experian--can only provide your credit reports to people you seek to do business with.
But the number of different people who access your reports may surprise you.
According to the Federal Reserve, here's a listing of who can view your credit reports:
- Lenders from whom you are seeking credit.
- Lenders that have granted you a loan.
- Telephone, cell phone and utility companies that may provide services to you.
- Your employer or prospective employers, but only if you agree.
- Insurance companies that have issued or may issue an insurance policy for you.
- Government agencies reviewing your financial status for government benefits.
- Anyone else with a legitimate business need for your personal information, such as potential landlords or a bank at which you are opening a checking account.
Credit bureaus also furnish credit reports if required by court orders or federal grand jury subpoenas.
Upon your written request, they will also issue your report to a third party.
Be careful who you allow to access your credit report. A large number of inquiries about your credit can lower your credit score, making a loan more difficult to obtain or more expensive due to higher interest rates.