Visa Press Release on Credit Scores

Nick Fishman

Okay. I owe the readers of this blog an apology for playing it safe and sitting on the sidelines on this one. Credit card titan Visa issued a press release on September 13th titled Americans Unaware That Employers Can Legally Refuse to Hire Job Applicants With Low Credit Scores The release points out that many employers are making their hiring decisions based on a credit score. I strongly disagree with this statement. Our experience is that employers stay as far away from credit scores as they can. I wasn’t even sure if it was legal or permissible to use a credit score in the hiring decision so I took a week to discuss this topic with the folks at Experian and with some employment attorneys before snapping off an uneducated response. I have learned that while it is permissible, it is most likely ill-advised. The most common explanation for their opinions is the potential for a disparate impact on minorities. Not to mention that a bad credit score can occur for so many reasons unrelated to personal responsibility including divorce, critical healthcare issues, etc.

I did test the waters by responding to an ERE post that published the release going as far as calling out the folks at Visa for not doing their homework. I stand by this assertion. They should have clarified that employers are increasingly reviewing a credit report on prospective employees, not necessarily credit scores. That said, I think that the release is interesting. I just think Visa should have spent a bit more time fine tuning the information.

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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