Background Screening

There’s another piece of legislation in the US House of Representatives that could benefit employers who need to use a credit report to ensure that a candidate for employment doesn’t have credit problems. H.R. 4172 would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to allow the reporting of positive consumer credit information to Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs). More specifically, H.R. 4172 “would allow utility and telecom companies and landlords to report on-time payment data – helping those with little or no credit history to build their credit scores based on a full picture of their payment history.”

This amendment would be particularly helpful for younger candidates, increasing their chances for employment in jobs where access to an employer’s financial information is a critical part of the job description. Although it’s widely recognized that most utility and telecom companies are major consumers of credit reports, per the Brooking’s Institution’s Policy and Economics Research Council, most either report to CRAs “only negative information or do not report at all.” H.R. 4172 would allow positive payment information to be released.

While the proposed amendment may help only a relatively small number of job seekers, it would still be a step forward in terms of providing a more complete credit picture to employers. Hopefully, associations representing private sector employers can lobby the current Congress to pass H.R. 4172, which was introduced back in 2015.