The majority of homebuyers must obtain a mortgage loan to pay for their property. Applying for a loan is a bit stressful, and it involves a lot of paperwork. The mortgage lender must assess your financial situation to determine if you can afford the loan and to determine your level of risk. Lenders do not want to loan money that they think will not get paid back. Even though they can then take ownership of your property, foreclosure is not a process that they enjoy or prefer.
In hopes of avoiding foreclosure, mortgage lenders look into your financial situation in depth. You will need to provide many different documents that prove your finances and income. Oftentimes, you must provide tax returns, bank statements, and more. But do lenders need your social security number?
For good reason, people are very protective of their social security number and hesitate to give it out. In some cases, like filling out a tax form, submitting your social security number is necessary but is it necessary for homebuying? In this post, we will provide you with the answer to that question as well as the important information you need to know.
Documents that Lenders Ask For
Mortgage lenders need information about your finances, including your debt, income, employment, assets, and more. To find out all of the information that they need to assess your finances, mortgage lenders gather many different required documents. Some documents are always asked for, while others will depend on the specific situation.
Most documents you should have easy access to, but others may require some digging. Knowing the commonly requested documents ahead of time will help you prepare for your loan application. The documents that mortgage lenders typically ask for include:
- Bank statements. Statements for the account that proves sufficient funds, dating back at least two months.
- Government-issued ID. You will need to provide a valid driver’s license or government-issued ID of some sort.
- Tax returns and W-2s. Tax returns from the past two years.
- 1099s. If you are an independent contractor or have other miscellaneous income, you will need to submit your 1099s to the mortgage lender.
- Deposit for earnest money. You must verify the source of your earnest money in the form of a withdrawal from your account with the associated paperwork.
- Pay stubs. Whether by physical check stub or direct deposit, you should be able to prove your employer’s payments.
- Credit report. The lender will review your credit report, so you should review it and resolve any discrepancies before the lender sees it because errors could lead to loan application denial or a higher interest rate.
- Social security card. Do lenders need your social security number? The answer is yes. You will often need to provide this. Find out why in the next section.
Why do lenders need your social security number?
Mortgage lenders will ask for your social security number, and many people will wonder why. Giving out your social security number is not something you should do lightly, so it is important to know why mortgage lenders request it.
Lenders use your social security number to run a credit check and view your credit score. As you can imagine, your credit score is a major factor in determining your financial status and suitability for a loan. Your credit score is meant to reflect the likelihood that you pay off your debts, so lenders really need this number to rest assured they will get their money back from you.
Using your SSN, lenders are able to view credit reports from all of the major credit bureaus. They can match the information with your SSN to ensure it is correct and tied to you.
Who should I share my SSN with?
As you can see, it is pretty imperative that you provide a mortgage lender your social security number. Failure to do so will result in denial of your loan, as lenders need your SSN to pull and compare your credit scores.
However, the practice of asking for SSN is increasingly common but dangerous. Your SSN holds the key to your financial health and is used to assess your creditworthiness. But so many different businesses that don’t need it will ask for it.
You should be careful who you share your SSN with. When unauthorized sources obtain your SSN, it can lead to identity theft which is a very serious problem. Identity theft is hard to combat and can impact you immensely.
The best advice is to think twice about sharing your SSN. Even though many different organizations ask for your SSN, you are not required to give it to them. Very few organizations have a real need for this number. For example, if you apply for government benefits, then you will need to provide your SSN. The mandatory places you should share your SSN with include:
- Cash transactions over $10,000
- Military paperwork
- The Department of Motor Vehicles
- Applying for government benefits like Medicare
- Tax returns
- Passport application
- Credit applications
There are many other places that ask for your SSN but cannot require it. You should carefully consider giving out your SSN to these places:
- doctor/dentist offices
Filling out your SSN for medical requests is entirely optional, so you have the right to say no. Keep in mind, some businesses can then refuse to work with you as they are trying to protect themselves if you fail to pay a bill.
The danger of identity fraud
The major reason to safeguard your SSN is because of its importance. Your SSN is the key to all of your finances, and it must be protected. If someone accesses your SSN, they can use it to take out credit cards and financing in your name, and to access your financial accounts! Identity theft is a serious problem that could deeply damage your financial security. Additionally, fixing a compromised SSN is not easy. It is very difficult and time-consuming to change your SSN if someone gets a hold of it.
Can credit card companies ask for your social security card?
Credit applications are one of the sources that can require your SSN. anytime you apply for new credit, you will need to provide your social security number for a credit check. In addition to your SSN, credit companies may request a copy of your social security card. For one, credit issuers must determine that you are who you say you are. This request may be legitimate, but it is not one that you must adhere to.
While it makes sense for credit card companies to ask for your card, you are only required to submit the number. Asking for the SSN card is generally out of normal practice, so you do not need to submit it.
Can a bank ask for my social security number?
Since credit card companies are able to ask for your social security number, you may also wonder about banks. Can a bank ask for my social security number? The answer is yes.
To open an account with a U.S financial institution, you must provide your SSN. The banks use your SSN to evaluate your credit report and to send information about your interest and investment income/losses to the IRS. Banks also use your SSN to report tax-deductible mortgage interest to the IRS and to manage your account in general.
Most banks will ask for your social security number. One alternative is your taxpayer identification number, and you can only get this through the IRS.
Is it safe to give your social security number over the phone?
With scam calls at an all-time high, you may be concerned about providing your SSN over the phone. What if you get a call from the IRS asking for your SSN? Or if the credit card company calls you for it?
Is it safe to give your social security number over the phone?
You should never give away your SSN over the phone. The IRS will NOT contact via the phone asking for your SSN, if you get a call about this it is fake. The IRS will reach you by mail and then you will work with a local IRS agent. Any other legitimate source will allow you to submit your SSN via secure paperwork or in-person.
To avoid the many prevalent scams, never give your social security number over the phone. Offering your SSN via the phone is not safe and is incredibly risky.
Mortgages and Your SSN: The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that mortgage lenders do need your SSN to verify your credit history and finances. Mortgage lenders and credit companies have valid reasons for accessing your SSN, and you will be required to give it to them.
However, you must be careful who you share your SSN with, and how. Many organizations like medical places and schools will ask for your SSN, but you are not required to share it. Additionally, you should never share your SSN on the phone. If an unauthorized source gets your SSN, you may end up facing identity theft which can greatly affect your finances. Safeguard your SSN by being very careful who you share it with, and by never sharing it via a phone call.
Protecting your SSN will help protect your financial security, which is imperative for obtaining a loan and buying a home. But, you should be prepared to share your SSN with your mortgage lender so they can verify your creditworthiness.
Your SSN is only one document that lenders will need. Keep in mind that you must provide a myriad of other documents that prove your financial stability. For more information about mortgage lending or home buying, our dedicated team is happy to help. Contact us today HERE.
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