Credit reports: How Credit Impacts Your Life

Credit influences many things that affect our daily lives, including our home and job. In this article we look at when and how credit is used. Prepare your credit for apartment hunting, job applications, insurance shopping, and opening new utility accounts.

Apartments & Rental History

Your credit report will typically be reviewed by a prospective landlord or rental agency. They are usually looking for a pattern of missed payments or other negative information on your credit report that indicate you may not be a responsible tenant. If you have bad credit, you may be required to put up a larger deposit or get a co-signer, or your rental housing application could even be turned down. In addition, each time your credit is reviewed it will create an inquiry that can affect your credit scores, so be careful about applying at several places at once.

Traditionally, on-time rent payments did not help your credit because they weren’t reported to credit reporting agencies. But there has been an effort to change that. An increasing number of property management companies and landlords now report positive rental history, which can in turn help build credit. If your landlord does not currently report your rent payments, you can suggest they use a service such as RentTrack which will allow you to pay your rent online. Those rent payments can then be reported to your Experian credit report via Experian’s RentBureau.


Employers must get written permission before they can review an applicant’s credit report. Usually employers review your credit report for major negative records or discrepancies. If an employer decides to take “adverse action” based on information your report, he or she must notify you first and provide you with a copy of your credit report. Employers can also check the credit reports of existing employees, as long as they previously disclosed that they may take such action. When an employer checks your credit report it does not negatively affect your credit score.

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