More UK employers checking credit reports



Finding work in today's UK job market is a challenge. Before you are offered employment, your employer may make several checks about you, including checking identification documents, contacting references, and in some cases, performing criminal background checks. They may also check your credit report, particularly if you are seeking a job in the financial sector or certain government jobs. It is extremely important that you ensure that the information contained on your credit report is accurate when you are job hunting. You wouldn't want a mistaken entry to stand between you and a great job offer.

More employers checking credit report
Though it is a legal requirement that employers in the financial services sector check your credit score, the practice is also quietly being adopted by many other work sectors and professions. Employers checking your credit record are only allowed to look at your public credit report. This document will contain more "big picture" information, including your Election Roll status, and any judgments against you or cases of insolvency.

Employers checking your credit before extending a job offer are not allowed to look at your payment history, because credit applications that you have taken out do not give your consent for the data to be used in this manner. Those who are allowed to see the "small print" history in your credit record are the largest lenders, and this would be in cases where you want to borrow money.

Employers are generally uninterested in your credit score. What they are interested in are the big hits on your record, such as judgments or decrees that are recorded against you, sequestrations, trust deeds, bankruptcies and individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs), which are alternative debt solutions done in place of bankruptcies. The employer will also check that you live in the same place you claim to.

Check and clear your credit report of errors
Like it or not, your credit report is used far more often than it used to be in situations that are not directly related to borrowing money, and an employment background check is one of those uses. If you want to see your public credit report, you can get it from Experian or Equifax, and you are strongly advised to do so. A surprising number of credit reports have mistakes on them, and the sooner you clear them up, the better. Contrary to what some believe, checking your credit report will not lower your credit score.

Potential employers in the UK are increasingly using credit checks in their background screening of candidates. Though they cannot dig into the details of your payment history, it is in your interest to check your credit reports and ensure that they are correct before commencing your job search.

Published: 19 August 2010