The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) outlines specifically who can see your credit profile. Businesses must have a "legitimate business need," and a "permissible purpose," as stated in the federal law to obtain your credit file. Otherwise, only you, and only those who you give written permission, can access your credit files. Your neighbors, friends, co-workers, and even your family members cannot have access to your credit profile unless you authorize it. Some examples of those who can access your credit files are:
Any company that receives a copy of your credit profile will be listed under the "Inquiry" section of your report. An "inquiry" is a listing of the name of a credit grantor or authorized user who has accessed your credit file. Credit grantors post an inquiry before offering you a preapproved credit card application. These are listed as "promotional" inquiries on your credit file because only your name and address were accessed, not your credit history information. They are NOT sent to credit grantors or businesses for reasons of credit reporting. They are listed for your informational purposes only.
- Credit Grantors
- Collection Agencies
- Insurance Companies
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the federal law regulating credit reporting companies like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. It has been in effect since 1971 and undergoes periodic revisions by the Federal Trade Commission. This law protects consumers’ rights such as the right to review and contest information in their credit profiles. It also specifically defines who can access the information in a credit profile, and how you are notified of this activity.