Yes, you can be denied a job because of bad credit in 39 states and the District of Columbia, while 11 states ban the practice in most cases. But all 11 states have exceptions, most of which concern being hired to jobs that involve finance or looking at credit late in the hiring process (such as after an interview). Another 17 states have introduced similar legislation that has yet to pass. If you live somewhere that lets employers discriminate, it can be a vicious cycle, as unemployment can lead to more debt and worse credit. If your credit is bad and you’re looking for a job, your best bet is one of the states that have passed restrictions.
The good news is that companies consider a lot of things in the hiring process, and credit is only one of them. In fact, your credit report won’t even necessarily be pulled during the application process. And if it is, the employer is required by law to get your written permission. So if you never heard from them about credit during the application process, they didn’t look at it. And just so you know, employers are only allowed to look at your credit report, not your credit score.
Here’s when and where you can be denied a job because of bad credit:
- 39 states and the District of Columbia have no restrictions on denying job applicants based on credit.
- California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Vermont, Delaware, Nevada, Colorado and Washington ban employers from discriminating based on credit in most cases.
- All 11 states with bans have exceptions. A common one is for jobs at financial institutions or that require handling money. Some of the states also allow credit checks in the late stages of the application process.
- Around 60% of employers check some job applicants’ credit, but only 13% do so for all applicants, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
- An employer must get your written permission to check your credit report, and they must tell you before doing so.
- You have the right to refuse a credit pull by an employer, but you probably won’t be hired if you do.
- Credit checks are only part of the application process. If an employer likes everything else about you, bad credit won’t necessarily rule you out. Just because they can deny you doesn’t mean they will.
You can still get a job with bad credit. But better credit obviously makes things easier. To start rebuilding your credit, we recommend getting a secured card and then consistently paying your monthly bills on time. To track your progress, you can join WalletHub for free to get daily credit reports and scores, along with a personalized credit analysis that will tell you how to improve and how long it will take.