How an employment credit check differs from a common credit report
An employment credit check is designed to give businesses the information they need to help them make hiring decisions. Information on the report may include public information, such as tax liens, accounts in collections, and bankruptcies. Employment credit checks will also show account information, including how much is owed, and high/low credit and payment history on each account.
Employment credit checks are legal under the FCRA. There are several rules set in place by the FCRA when conducting a credit check and there are some state restrictions as well.
Credit reports may be conducted on potential employees who will have financial or fiduciary responsibility for the company. Employers must state their “permissible purpose” when running credit reports and several states have very specific requirements which must be met to establish the right to conduct credit reports. Employment credit reports will not impact or reveal credit scores and account numbers.
Consumer reporting agencies (CRA) like Checkr provide employment credit checks, which differ from credit checks for other purposes such as annual credit reports, obtaining loans, or assessing credit scores. Differences include:
- Employment credit checks do not contain a scoring system, such as a FICO score
- Employment credit checks do not display individual account numbers of loans or revolving credit cards
- Employment credit checks are soft hits and do not affect a person's credit score as they are not seen as an inquiry by a financial institution to establish an account
Credentialing for employment credit checks
Before Checkr clients can order credit checks for employment purposes, they must go through an onsite inspection performed by a third party. To add credit checks to your account contact Checkr Customer Support.
As part of this process:
- The third party will inspect the offices of the customer where credit reports will be ordered and reviewed.
- The customer must state their intended business purpose for conducting credit reports.
After an account is credentialed to run employment credit checks, at least one credit check per year should be ordered to maintain the package on your account.
To comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and similar state laws, an employment credit report must have job relevance: the role should have fiduciary responsibility. An easy way to test whether a credit check is compliant is to ask, “Will this person handle or manage customer/company funds?” If not, a credit check should not be ordered.
Several states have specific permissible reasons that employers must choose when ordering credit reports. See our article on state-specific permissibility for a partial list of those states, but you should consult with your legal counsel to determine whether credit checks are permissible based on the job role and state.
When assessing a background report, treat the results of a credit check with extreme care. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires employers not to automatically take adverse action on credit reports. This requirement stems from research showing that automatic denial of candidates based on credit checks and criminal records has a disparate impact: in other words, it disproportionately affects protected groups by denying them employment.
For these reasons, Checkr does not provide an automated adverse action flow through the Checkr Dashboard.
Employment credit checks are available as standalone searches.
Candidates will be asked to provide their name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number.
They will then be presented and asked to acknowledge receipt of applicable forms and notifications, including the Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and an Acknowledgement and Authorization for Background Check.
After the candidate consents, Checkr will initiate the credit check process.
If you've applied for a job and want to know your background check’s status, log in to the Checkr Candidate Portal.