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What Credit Score is Needed for Security Clearance?

April 9th, 2012 | Author:

There are many branches of the military and government that require security clearance in order to move up in the ranks of one’s career field. Security clearances are in depth background checks, including financial background checks, that help to determine whether or not you are trustworthy enough to be given such access to protected information or activities. On top of a rigorous application process and thorough background check, they also look into one’s credit history, and at one’s credit score when determining whether or not to grant clearance.

There is no minimum credit score needed to obtain security clearance. However, a negative credit score could make it harder for you to gain said clearance. The background check into your financial history will go a lot deeper than the military or government pulling your credit report. You will also be interviewed about the contents of the credit report, which gives you a chance to explain the circumstances surrounding different elements of the report.

If you have had to file for bankruptcy, or are in a lot of debt, this could be damaging to your ability to obtain security clearance, though it isn’t necessarily going to keep you from being approved. You will be asked to explain the circumstances surrounding the debt or bankruptcy, and then determine whether or not to approve you from there.

Sometimes, one’s credit history and score are what make the government or military not deem them worthy of clearance. One can work to improve their credit score, eliminate their debts and work off negative judgments and then try to obtain the clearance again. More often than not though, unless the debts were gained through repeated financial irresponsibility, one’s negative credit history can be, to an extent, overlooked.

Others in your regimen or office may be asked to vouch for you if there are problems with your application such as financial issues. Foreclosures, bankruptcy and debt are not necessarily going to keep you from obtaining clearance, but it certainly doesn’t help. If you are looking to apply for security clearance, it is advised to take a look at your credit report to make sure that everything is correct. It will also give you an idea of what those who are looking through your application will see, and give you a chance to explain the circumstances surrounding a particular debt or action. The financial part of the application process is just one part of the process, and even if you have a bad credit history, you are not automatically denied clearance.