Financial institutions, other lenders, insurance companies and others with what's called “permissible purpose” can access a copy of your credit report in order to make certain types of decisions about you.
For example, when you apply for a new loan or credit card, a lender usually will use the information in your credit report to determine whether to lend you money and at what rate, based on their own risk criteria.
Your neighbors, friends, co-workers or family members cannot access your Equifax credit report unless you authorize it. Some examples of those who can access your credit report are:
- Credit grantors, when you apply for credit
- Collection agencies, when they need it to collect a debt
- Insurance companies, to underwrite insurance
- Employers, but only with your permission
- Rental companies, phone and utility companies, but only with your permission
Examples of permissible purpose include:
- When requested by a court order or Federal grand jury subpoena
- In accordance with written instructions from a consumer to whom the file relates
- As part of a credit transaction involving the consumer
- To review and collect the consumer's account
- For employment purposes with the consumer's written consent
- To underwrite of insurance for personal, family or household purposes
- To determine a consumer's eligibility for a license or other governmental benefit
- In connection with a valuation of, or an assessment of the credit or prepayment risks associated with, an existing credit obligation
- In connection with a legitimate business need relating to a transaction initiated by the consumer
- To review an account to determine whether the consumer continues to meet the terms of the account
- To prescreen a consumer, but only if a firm offer of credit or insurance is made
Any business or person who receives a copy of your Equifax credit report will be listed under the “Inquiries” section of your Equifax credit report. If you learn that your Equifax credit report has been obtained outside of the reasons outlined in FCRA, please contact the company that made the inquiry to investigate.
That company can request that the inquiry be removed (if associated with fraud/ Identity theft) or changed to a “soft” inquiry that will not impact any credit scores, and will only be viewable by you.