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Do I need a Credit Check / Good Credit for Broadband Internet?

The internet is a staple of virtually every home in our modern age and the providers of this service are numerous. Speed is an important factor when it comes to internet, which is why most people choose broadband when signing up for internet. Something to consider when signing up for broadband internet is whether the provider does a credit check, as this can play a role for many people. The answer to this is not black and white, but rather a definite maybe depending on the particular company. Here we will take a look at each company and their policy on credit checking new customers. 

AT&T: Credit Check Required on All Services

One of the most well known providers on this list is AT&T, as they offer multiple services all around the country. AT&T does require credit checks to open an account for any of their various services. The company is often willing to work with those who have poor credit, but this may require upfront costs to start service. 

Viasat: Preliminary Credit Check

Viasat offers a wide range of package options for internet services, but they do require a preliminary credit check. They run their credit check using only name and home address, which is good for those concerned about passing on their sensitive information. Viasat customers are offered a Late Night Free Zone, which means that use between the hours of midnight to 5 a.m. does not count toward their data caps.  

Wildblue: Credit Check Required

Wildblue is actually an affiliate of Viasat, and as such, they have offers similar to those of Viasat. This company does require a credit check to sign up for their internet plans. Like Viasat, they tend to require less pervasive information for their credit checks and they also have a pretty high approval rate. 

DIRECTV: Varies

DIRECTV does not actually provide their own internet service. They actually partner with other providers and offer services through them. This means that credit checks may or may not be required depending on the particular service and ISP that they are working with in a certain area. AT&T is the parent company of DIRECTV, and these two have been working to provide services for those with a lower credit score, as long as they can provide a down payment. 

DISH Network: Credit Check Required for Certain Packages

The DISH Network is similar to DIRECTV in the sense that they offer internet service through partners in various areas. They used to offer their own internet through their DISHnet service, but this has since been discontinued. DISH does require credit checks to sign up for certain packages and this allows a rate to get locked in for 2 years. Although, the provider also offers a package called Flex TV, which is a no contract service that does not require a credit check. 

Charter Spectrum: Credit Check Required

Charter Spectrum does require a credit check to open a new account. This offers a benefit though, as those with good credit may not have to pay the first month bill upfront plus installation costs. Conversely, those with bad credit may have to pay these bills upfront when signing up for Spectrum service and the costs can be quite high. 

Comcast Xfinity: Credit Check Required on Some Services

Some services through Comcast Xfinity will require a credit check when signing up. If deciding to go with this provider, be sure to ask whether the service will require a credit check. Although, Comcast will notify a customer before they begin a credit check. 

Verizon: Offers Both Options

Verizon typically requires a credit check when opening an internet service account with them and it will be a hard inquiry on a credit report. For those with bad credit, Verizon also offers a prepaid service that does not require a credit check and it there is no contract with this service. Although, the prepaid service does come with a $90 installation fee. 

Google Fiber: Unknown

Google Fiber is Google’s new internet option that they have been slowly implementing in various places around the country. This service is not offered in very many areas yet, so it may not even be an option. Their policy on credit checks is not very clear, so you may want to ask them directly if considering signing up for Fiber. 

Low Income Community Problems

Some of the providers that require strict credit checks are likely not the best option for those in low income communities. These companies are generally not afraid to turn a customer down over their credit score and it may cause further detriment if the check impacts their score even with being turned down. In these cases, prepaid service or a smaller company may be the better option. 

Stay Up to Date on Credit Check Policies

When choosing a provider that requires a credit check, it is beneficial to find out whether it is a hard inquiry or soft inquiry. In basic terms, a hard inquiry will show up on your credit report and affect it for a certain amount of time, whereas a soft inquiry will not affect your credit. Hard inquiries can also cause a small drop in your credit score. As long as there are not multiple hard inquiries, the drop will be quite minimal and not affect your score very long. 

As said above, there is no straight answer to whether you need a credit check or good credit for internet, as it depends on the provider. Realistically, ISP credit check requirements are changing all the time and it can be hard to keep up with. When looking for a new provider, this is a question that you should ask right away, just in case their policy has changed recently. Over time, some ISPs may begin offering better options for those with low credit scores or those who do not want to give out their sensitive information.