does a background check include a credit check

The heart of most pre-employment background check processes is the criminal history check. However, job seekers and employers alike are unclear about precisely which information will be included in the criminal background check. Does a criminal history check include credit history? Or are credit history background checks a separate tool?

There is a simple answer to these questions: a criminal background check will never include any information about a person’s credit history.

Even someone with a very poor credit history—one that includes civil suits and judgments, bankruptcies, tax liens, defaults, or collections—will not see that information revealed by a criminal background check. While these issues are the consequences or outcomes of missed payments or financial problems, they are not crimes. Since a criminal background check displays conviction history information, you don’t need to worry about your credit history showing up on such a check.

Just because criminal history checks do not include credit history does not mean that employers or landlords cannot discover this information, however.

Credit history background checks are designed specifically to pull these details. As with criminal convictions, details about a person’s credit history are part of the public record. As such, it is possible for a background check to find this information. At Blinkx, our credit history checks include a summary of relevant information (civil suits, bankruptcies, liens, etc.), as well as available details on credit lines, credit limits, balances, past due amounts, percentage of available credit, and more.

Job seekers should know that credit history background checks are less common in employment settings than criminal background checks are. While criminal history is a relevant consideration for most jobs, the same can’t be said for credit history. Employers will generally only utilize this check if they are hiring someone who will have considerable financial responsibility. So, while credit history checks are common in finance and banking, and sometimes even required by law, they aren’t a traditional part of the pre-employment vetting process.

Employers that are thinking about running credit history background checks should be aware that these checks are heavily restricted in some states and jurisdictions. View our PDF “State and Local Restrictions on Credit History Inquiries and Background Checks” to learn about these restrictions. Also note that employers must abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance when utilizing credit history checks for employment purposes.

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