Help! My new boss wants to check my credit report
Imagine you’re on the cusp of getting a hot new job, and your prospective boss says they’ll need to do a credit check. You’re pretty sure there’s some bad info on there, and anyway, isn’t it a breach of privacy?
Fret no more, dear reader: we bring good news.
Firstly, it’s true that other parties can check your credit report – landlords, recruiters, telcos, insurance providers and utility companies, as well as employers. However, they can’t do it without your consent and knowledge. The Credit Reporting Privacy Code, along with the Privacy Act 1993, gives you specific rights and information, including who can access your credit report and on what basis.
Employers are only allowed to access your credit report if: a) it’s authorised by you; b) it’s for a pre-employment check; and c) the position you would be in involves “significant financial risk”. That’s more than just cash handling – it should be bigger responsibilities such as accounts and financial administration.
While private information such as the amount of your mortgage appears on your credit report, employers are really looking for patterns of money mismanagement and unresolved debt. However, the biggest indication of that is insolvency, and anyone can search the insolvency register, as that’s public information.
Key things to know:
- The prospective employer MUST get written consent to do a credit check on you. You of course have the right to say no.
- The credit reporter must log each ‘access’ that’s made to your credit file and let you know this information if you ask. These ‘accesses’ are included on your credit report.
- A credit report is different from a credit score. A credit score is a number that’s indicative of your financial health and responsibility, whereas a credit report is a full file containing details of defaults, court judgements, credit applications and more. An employer will want to access your credit report, not your credit score.
The best thing to do? Be prepared by checking your credit score (click here to do it instantly) and requesting your credit report.
Francis is Credit Simple's resident content writer and social media guru. He's passionate about saving money, so we pay him 5 cents to go out and fetch the team coffees every morning. Thanks Frankie.All stories by: Francis Church