Credit Scoring for Utility Service

Credit histories and loan records are tools traditionally used by lenders to decide whether to give consumers credit. Other industries also have adopted the use of credit scores (see also Consumer Credit). Telecommunications providers and utilities use them to determine whether to require a security deposit from a customer. The score can also determine the amount of that deposit. This trend raises questions about fair practices and access to essential services. It is especially of concern for consumers with low incomes.

Many credit-scoring models do not include utility payment history. So, a consumer with a perfect utility payment history could still be required to provide a deposit or pay a higher rate because of a poor credit record in other areas.