What Information Do You Need to Run a Credit Check?

What Information Do You Need to Run a Credit Check?
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Anyone who extends credit to consumers and/or other businesses as well as those who are renting out space on a property will likely want to run a credit check on their prospects. This will reveal a lot about how financially responsible a person is and whether you would like to extend a line of credit to him. Running a credit check is fairly simple but the steps must be followed carefully.


You must always ask permission before checking someone's credit. It is against the law to check it without verbal or written consent. You may tell her verbally that you are running a credit check on her and if she says it is ok, you can move forward. Or, you can have him sign a contract stating his credit will be checked next to the words stating "subject to credit approval."

Personal Information

You must obtain personal information about the prospect including full name, address, previous addresses, phone number and job-related information. The most critical piece of information is the individual's Social Security number. You cannot look into someone's credit history without it.

Credit-Reporting Service

There are several online credit reporting providers that you can subscribe to for a nominal fee. Many offer a variety of services including single to unlimited credit checks depending on the monthly or annual fee. Many businesses and landlords use these services to get the seven-year credit history on a person. Any information subject to public records such as bankruptcies, evictions, reposessions, liens, and judgments will be visible.

Major Credit Bureaus

The three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, all provide credit reports to businesses and landlords. In order to check a person's credit history, you may write a letter or make a request online at each bureau's website. You must identify who you are and why you are requesting the report. Then provide the person's personal information--most importantly, the full name, address and Social Security number.