How To Find Out Who Checked Your Credit Score

By Trev Gami •  Updated: 03/08/24 •  6 min read

Your credit report and credit score contain critical information about credit management behavior. Businesses, particularly lenders, decide whether to engage you for business and the interest to charge you based on your credit status. The National Credit Act (NCA) in South Africa only allows persons and organizations with permissible purposes to access your credit report. No one else is allowed to check your credit score without your permission. However, you may be surprised to realize that someone has checked your credit report without your consent when you pull at some point in time. This guide explains the steps you can take to find out if someone has checked your credit score


Can Someone Check Your Credit Score Without Permission?

According to the NCA, it is illegal for an ordinary person to check someone’s credit rating without their consent. Only government entities can access other individuals’ credit ratings without seeking authorization. Anyone found on the wrong side of the law risks attracting hefty fines or jail time. 

Even when individuals or businesses are legally allowed to check prospective customers’ credit ratings, they should seek written permission first. The following are the entities that can access your credit rating with your blessing:  

How Do You Find Out Who Checked Your Credit Score?

If you request a free copy of your credit report from your preferred credit bureau, you will see a list of persons or businesses that have checked your credit score within the past year. A credit report is a comprehensive document with all details about your credit history and other related activities. When someone checks your credit score without your permission, you will get all the details from your credit report. Make sure you read the report carefully so that you don’t miss crucial details. 

How Do I Remove Unauthorized Credit Inquiries?

Unauthorized credit inquiries can dent your credit score, and they will stay on your credit report for about two years. However, you can report them by following the steps below:

  1. Obtain a free copy of your credit report and review it to identify all unauthorized credit inquiries. 
  2. Check all inaccurate hard inquiries and flag them. Try to verify all unrecognized credit inquiries. 
  3. Contact the lender or creditor responsible for the hard inquiry, which you have not authorized. Provide accurate details about your report to support your claim that the hard inquiry might be an error.
  4. Begin the official dispute process to resolve the matter. Collect all the necessary documentation, which you should keep as records. File your dispute online or send a written letter, which you can keep as evidence. Never file a dispute over the phone since it does not allow you to keep a paper trail. 
  5. Include the following documents in your dispute letter:

Send copies of supporting documents. 

  1. Submit your dispute together with all the supporting documents.
  2. Wait for a verdict, but remember this process can take up to 45 days. 

Can Someone Else Mess Up Your Credit Score?

Yes, someone can mess up your credit score in different ways. For instance, one can make an unauthorized credit inquiry on your account. This is known as a hard inquiry, and it impacts your credit score. After a hard inquiry, your score will lose a few points, but several hard inquiries within a short period can harm your account. The other issue is that a hard inquiry stays on your credit report for about two years and this can scare away potential lenders when you want to borrow some money. 

Identity theft is a matter of great concern. Someone can steal your identity particulars and open a credit account or apply for a credit card in your name. Even your relative can open an account in your name, but this will harm your credit score in the long run. For example, they can use your ID to open a cell phone account, but they may fail to meet their credit obligations. As a result, the account in your name will suffer late payments and this will damage your credit. In worst-case scenarios, you may end up receiving debt collectors intending to collect credit accrued in your name. 

Co-signing friends or relatives on cell phone accounts, car loans, residential leases, or credit cards can ruin your credit score when you least expect it. If they fail to pay up their debt, it will appear on your credit report. You will end up with the burden of clearing the debt because you would have agreed to pay back the money if your loved one fails to clear their debt. 

 Opening a joint checking account with someone with a bad credit score does not affect your credit score directly. However, if one party fails to pay off an overdraft because they have decided to opt out of the deal, the challenge will be on you to pay up the debt. Therefore, you should never open a joint account with someone you do not know very well.