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Why is it that some jobs check your credit score? Is this normal? Is it even legal?

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If you're asking about the legality, please specify a country in your question. –  Chris W. Rea Jul 3 '12 at 16:06
    
Did you sign a piece of paper authorizing them to do a credit check? Was it disclosed that they would do a credit check prior to your providing them with the information needed to do the credit check? Generally there is a required disclosure. –  user4127 Jul 3 '12 at 17:00
    
What kind of job did you apply for? Something in finance? –  JBRWilkinson Jul 4 '12 at 9:05
    
I worked for a large fed gov contractor in the US and they did a credit check before I joined. If the check had been bad it would have narrowed the types of projects on which I could work (esp. projects for the DHS). I would have got the job, but it would have been a disqualifier for working on some projects. –  gef05 Jul 4 '12 at 21:51

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

It is possible for an employer to check your credit score and it is legal. As long as you give them permission. You have every right to refuse BUT the employer also has the right to not give you a job.

The reason is to get an overall feeling for your integrity, discipline, and lifestyle. People in debt are more likely to embezzle, etc. A low credit score can also indicate that you make poor choices in your financial and purchasing deals.

If you are refused a job you are qualified under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to get a copy of your credit report.

Source - Legal Match

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I seriously doubt it is legal to disqualify a person based on his credit score, but since noone openly states the reason for disqualification this is just used. –  sharptooth Jul 4 '12 at 13:03
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@sharptooth actually it is perfectly legal to disqualify a person based on his credit report. Even refusing to let them see your credit report is reason enough. Your credit report is no form of discrimination, and it does give your employer an idea of how responsible you are. If you don't get the job because of it you are qualified to under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to get a free copy. –  Kirill Fuchs Jul 4 '12 at 15:29

Some check as part of a background investigation. Money problems can make it hard to establish a level of trust. If your credit is bad you might be easy to bribe. Or you might steal from the company.

The level of importance will depend on the job you are applying for, or for the customer you will be working for. Government jobs or government contracts frequently require background checks. Jobs that will involve having access to high value items or money will also require a check.

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It makes sense that a credit score is a history of how you have handled monetary commitments. It allows the employer another method of evaluating you. Whether it provides useful information to the employer is another question. It may give them an idea of if you make risky decisions, take on too much at one time, or if you are able to repay on time.

From my recent job search as a recent college graduate, this was not normal.

As far as I'm aware it is legal, but you do have to give consent.

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