Credit Challenged?

Maybe you haven’t had experience with credit, or you had a negative experience that doesn’t tell the whole story of how you would behave now with a new loan. Alternative data providers look at how reliably you’ve paid rent, utility bills, or rent-to-own agreements. They dig up nonpayment information, too. You might be credit challenged.

CPN numbers are a second chance in the credit game. A credit privacy number, or CPN, is a nine-digit ID that can be used in lieu of a Social Security number for credit reporting and other financial purposes, like applying for a loan. Like an SSN, each person can only have one CPN. It’s used as a unique identifier for your financial transactions and lets lenders and credit reporting agencies keep an eye on your borrowing history. However, a CPN can help you keep your finances safe and hidden from the public eye. For that reason, it’s popular among elected officials, celebrities and people in witness protection programs. As the name implies, it’s mostly used by people who need a little extra privacy. A CPN isn’t always a substitute for an SSN, though: You can’t use it for documents submitted to the IRS or an employer, registering a vehicle or applying for a government loan, for instance. If you have a CPN, it’s on you to know when you can and can’t use it.