Permissible Purpose

Permissible purpose is defined in Section 604 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). [15 U.S.C. § 1681b]

  1. In general. Subject to subsection (c), any consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report under the following circumstances and no other:
    1. In response to the order of a court having jurisdiction to issue such an order, or a subpoena issued in connection with proceedings before a Federal grand jury.
    2. In accordance with the written instructions of the consumer to whom it relates.
    3. To a person which it has reason to believe
      1. intends to use the information in connection with a credit transaction involving the consumer on whom the information is to be furnished and involving the extension of credit to, or review or collection of an account of, the consumer; or
      2. intends to use the information for employment purposes; or
      3. intends to use the information in connection with the underwriting of insurance involving the consumer; or
      4. intends to use the information in connection with a determination of the consumer's eligibility for a license or other benefit granted by a governmental instrumentality required by law to consider an applicant's financial responsibility or status; or
      5. intends to use the information, as a potential investor or servicer, or current insurer, in connection with a valuation of, or an assessment of the credit or prepayment risks associated with, an existing credit obligation; or
      6. otherwise has a legitimate business need for the information
        1. in connection with a business transaction that is initiated by the consumer; or
        2. to review an account to determine whether the consumer continues to meet the terms of the account.
    4. In response to a request by the head of a State or local child support enforcement agency (or a State or local government official authorized by the head of such an agency), if the person making the request certifies to the consumer reporting agency that
      1. the consumer report is needed for the purpose of establishing an individual's capacity to make child support payments or determining the appropriate level of such payments;
      2. the paternity of the consumer for the child to which the obligation relates has been established or acknowledged by the consumer in accordance with State laws under which the obligation arises (if required by those laws);
      3. the person has provided at least 10 days' prior notice to the consumer whose report is requested, by certified or registered mail to the last known address of the consumer, that the report will be requested; and
      4. the consumer report will be kept confidential, will be used solely for a purpose described in subparagraph (A), and will not be used in connection with any other civil, administrative, or criminal proceeding, or for any other purpose.
    5. To an agency administering a State plan under Section 454 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 654) for use to set an initial or modified child support award.
  2. Conditions for furnishing and using consumer reports for employment purposes.
    1. Certification from user. A consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report for employment purposes only if
      1. the person who obtains such report from the agency certifies to the agency that
        1. the person has complied with paragraph (2) with respect to the consumer report, and the person will comply with paragraph (3) with respect to the consumer report if paragraph (3) becomes applicable; and
        2. information from the consumer report will not be used in violation of any applicable Federal or State equal employment opportunity law or regulation; and
      2. the consumer reporting agency provides with the report, or has previously provided, a summary of the consumer's rights under this title, as prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission under section 609(c)(3) [§ 1681g].
    2. Disclosure to consumer
      1. In general. Except as provided in subparagraph (B), a person may not procure a consumer report, or cause a consumer report to be procured, for employment purposes with respect to any consumer, unless--
        1. a clear and conspicuous disclosure has been made in writing to the consumer at any time before the report is procured or caused to be procured, in a document that consists solely of the disclosure, that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes; and
        2. the consumer has authorized in writing (which authorization may be made on the document referred to in clause (i)) the procurement of the report by that person.
      2. Application by mail, telephone, computer, or other similar means. If a consumer described in subparagraph (C) applies for employment by mail, telephone, computer, or other similar means, at any time before a consumer report is procured or caused to be procured in connection with that application--
        1. the person who procures the consumer report on the consumer for employment purposes shall provide to the consumer, by oral, written, or electronic means, notice that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes, and a summary of the consumer's rights under section 615(a)(3); and
        2. the consumer shall have consented, orally, in writing, or electronically to the procurement of the report by that person.
      3. Scope. Subparagraph (B) shall apply to a person procuring a consumer report on a consumer in connection with the consumer's application for employment only if--
        1. the consumer is applying for a position over which the Secretary of Transportation has the power to establish qualifications and maximum hours of service pursuant to the provisions of section 31502 of title 49, or a position subject to safety regulation by a State transportation agency; and
        2. as of the time at which the person procures the report or causes the report to be procured the only interaction between the consumer and the person in connection with that employment application has been by mail, telephone, computer, or other similar means.
    3. Conditions on use for adverse actions.
      1. In general. Except as provided in subparagraph (B), in using a consumer report for employment purposes, before taking any adverse action based in whole or in part on the report, the person intending to take such adverse action shall provide to the consumer to whom the report relates--
        1. a copy of the report; and
        2. a description in writing of the rights of the consumer under this title, as prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission under section 609(c)(3).
      2. Application by mail, telephone, computer, or other similar means.
        1. If a consumer described in subparagraph (C) applies for employment by mail, telephone, computer, or other similar means, and if a person who has procured a consumer report on the consumer for employment purposes takes adverse action on the employment application based in whole or in part on the report, then the person must provide to the consumer to whom the report relates, in lieu of the notices required under subparagraph (A) of this section and under section 615(a), within 3 business days of taking such action, an oral, written or electronic notification--
          1. that adverse action has been taken based in whole or in part on a consumer report received from a consumer reporting agency;
          2. of the name, address and telephone number of the consumer reporting agency that furnished the consumer report (including a toll-free telephone number established by the agency if the agency compiles and maintains files on consumers on a nationwide basis);
          3. that the consumer reporting agency did not make the decision to take the adverse action and is unable to provide to the consumer the specific reasons why the adverse action was taken; and
          4. that the consumer may, upon providing proper identification, request a free copy of a report and may dispute with the consumer reporting agency the accuracy or completeness of any information in a report.
        2. If, under clause (B)(i)(IV), the consumer requests a copy of a consumer report from the person who procured the report, then, within 3 business days of receiving the consumer's request, together with proper identification, the person must send or provide to the consumer a copy of a report and a copy of the consumer's rights as prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission under section 609(c)(3).
      3. Scope. Subparagraph (B) shall apply to a person procuring a consumer report on a consumer in connection with the consumer's application for employment only if--
        1. the consumer is applying for a position over which the Secretary of Transportation has the power to establish qualifications and maximum hours of service pursuant to the provisions of section 31502 of title 49, or a position subject to safety regulation by a State transportation agency; and
        2. as of the time at which the person procures the report or causes the report to be procured the only interaction between the consumer and the person in connection with that employment application has been by mail, telephone, computer, or other similar means.
    4. Exception for national security investigations.
      1. In general. In the case of an agency or department of the United States Government which seeks to obtain and use a consumer report for employment purposes, paragraph (3) shall not apply to any adverse action by such agency or department which is based in part on such consumer report, if the head of such agency or department makes a written finding that--
        1. the consumer report is relevant to a national security investigation of such agency or department;
        2. the investigation is within the jurisdiction of such agency or department;
        3. there is reason to believe that compliance with paragraph (3) will--
          1. endanger the life or physical safety of any person;
          2. result in flight from prosecution;
          3. result in the destruction of, or tampering with, evidence relevant to the investigation;
          4. result in the intimidation of a potential witness relevant to the investigation;
          5. result in the compromise of classified information; or
          6. otherwise seriously jeopardize or unduly delay the investigation or another official proceeding.
      2. Notification of consumer upon conclusion of investigation. Upon the conclusion of a national security investigation described in subparagraph (A), or upon the determination that the exception under subparagraph (A) is no longer required for the reasons set forth in such subparagraph, the official exercising the authority in such subparagraph shall provide to the consumer who is the subject of the consumer report with regard to which such finding was made--
        1. a copy of such consumer report with any classified information redacted as necessary;
        2. notice of any adverse action which is based, in part, on the consumer report; and
        3. the identification with reasonable specificity of the nature of the investigation for which the consumer report was sought.
      3. Delegation by head of agency or department. For purposes of subparagraphs (A) and (B), the head of any agency or department of the United States Government may delegate his or her authorities under this paragraph to an official of such agency or department who has personnel security responsibilities and is a member of the Senior Executive Service or equivalent civilian or military rank.
      4. Report to the congress. Not later than January 31 of each year, the head of each agency and department of the United States Government that exercised authority under this paragraph during the preceding year shall submit a report to the Congress on the number of times the department or agency exercised such authority during the year.
      5. Definitions. For purposes of this paragraph, the following definitions shall apply:
        1. Classified information. The term `classified information' means information that is protected from unauthorized disclosure under Executive Order No. 12958 or successor orders.
  3. Furnishing reports in connection with credit or insurance transactions that are not initiated by the consumer.
    1. In general. A consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report relating to any consumer pursuant to subparagraph (A) or (C) of subsection (a)(3) in connection with any credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by the consumer only if
      1. the consumer authorizes the agency to provide such report to such person; or
        1. the transaction consists of a firm offer of credit or insurance;
        2. the consumer reporting agency has complied with subsection (e); and
        3. there is not in effect an election by the consumer, made in accordance with subsection (e), to have the consumer's name and address excluded from lists of names provided by the agency pursuant to this paragraph.
    2. Limits on information received under paragraph (1)(B). A person may receive pursuant to paragraph (1)(B) only
      1. the name and address of a consumer;
      2. an identifier that is not unique to the consumer and that is used by the person solely for the purpose of verifying the identity of the consumer; and
      3. other information pertaining to a consumer that does not identify the relationship or experience of the consumer with respect to a particular creditor or other entity.
    3. Information regarding inquiries. Except as provided in section 609(a)(5) [§ 1681g], a consumer reporting agency shall not furnish to any person a record of inquiries in connection with a credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by a consumer.