Financial Background Checks: Your Guide

Graphic image of bank cards and money

Unlike the traditional background check that looks into your education, employment, criminal, and civil history, a financial background check evaluates your financial health. These reports can be important in certain circumstances, especially ones that involve loan applications, finance-related jobs, or rental applications.

This article below aims to help you understand what exactly a financial background report contains, who typically requests these reports, and what you can do to stay up-to-date with your financial information.

What Exactly Is a Financial Background Check?

Though it sounds intimidating, a financial background check is just a credit report. These types of financial checks typically include your name, address, and social security number, much like a regular background check would. Though instead of including criminal infractions, education, and employment history, they contain financial history.

You can expect to see outstanding debts on your financial background checks, such as unpaid loans, student debts, mortgages, or medical bills. The report will also include information on any bankruptcies (these stay on your financial background check for seven to ten years), credit limits, tax liens, and your credit score.

Using the financial information on your report, individuals can evaluate whether or not you are a good fit for another type of loan or lending situation, a career that works with finances, certain rental or leasing contracts, or another finance-related opportunity. Your financial background check report might also be evaluated as part of a complete background check to determine your overall eligibility for employment or another opportunity.

Who Typically Reviews a Financial Background Check?

Financial background checks are usually completed by potential employers, landlords or rental agencies, car dealerships, and banks or credit card companies. However, there are several rules and restrictions surrounding who can access your financial background report and what they can do with it, something we discuss below.

You should keep in mind that most companies, employers, or financial institutions will be required to inform you that they are checking your financial background information, and you may see this noted on your credit history after the financial report is pulled. However, these marks typically don’t stay on your financial background check report for long and are unlikely to raise red flags for anyone viewing your financial background check report.

Restrictions Surrounding Financial Background Checks

As we mentioned above, there are several restrictions surrounding financial background checks, who can access these reports, and what individuals can do with the information gathered from the financial reports. State laws vary regarding disclosure and authorization, but federal laws generally dictate that individuals should be made aware that their financial background information is being accessed.

Another important set of restrictions to keep in mind is the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This federal act is put in place to protect credit and financial information, and it stops anyone who doesn’t have a specific purpose, as specified in the act, from accessing your credit and financial background information. These ‘permissible purposes’ allow credit reporting agencies to provide this financial information when:

  • You provide written authorization
  • Debt collectors ask for the report
  • An insurance company requests it
  • A court order requests financial information
  • You give a potential employer written authorization to view your financial background report
  • Lenders, banks, or credit card companies request it to evaluate your eligibility for being awarded loans and credit lines
  • You authorize a landlord, property management company, or rental agency to view your financial history in connection with an application

There are many other reasons and situations where individuals may be able to view your financial background report, as long as they adhere to the correct requesting and disclosure procedures.

You can read more about this by checking out the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s regulations section here.

Staying Up to Date With Your Financial Background

A lot of the time, it helps to be fully informed of your financial background and credit history if you want the best chance to pass a financial background check. You can do this by staying on top of your credit report, monitoring your financial health, and running a search for your background check report using an online tool like The full report returned to you via a people search can shed light on what an employer, financial institution, or other organization might see when they request your report.

Additionally, keeping up to date with your financial health, borrowing and spending responsibly, and keeping track of your credit report can all help you ensure your financial background check looks as good as possible.