Rumor has it that checking your own credit could hurt your score. This is totally FALSE! Checking your credit using a trustworthy site like ScoreShuttle is considered a soft credit inquiry and will not affect your score. However, a hard credit check could do some damage. Here’s how to easily spot the difference between a hard and soft credit check.
Soft credit checks
A soft credit check typically occurs when a consumer, such as yourself, checks your own credit or when your credit is pulled as part of a background check (check my $0 credit score). Depending on the bureau, a soft credit inquiry may show up on your report, but it should not affect your actual score. Here are some common examples of a soft credit check:
- Checking your own credit report and score
- Pre-qualifying quotes or offers
- Employment-related background checks
Keep in mind that pre-qualifying for items such as a loan or credit card is different than actually signing up for the offer. Depending on the lender, if you choose to move forward with enrollment, they may require an additional hard credit check to finalize the deal.
Hard credit checks
Unlike soft inquiries, hard credit checks could have a negative impact on your score. Especially if you have several hard inquiries over a short period of time. A hard credit check is typically performed by a lender after you actively apply for a new line of credit. Here are some examples of hard inquiries:
- Auto loan application
- Personal loan application
- Mortgage application
- New credit card application
Depending on the provider, credit checks for insurance, utilities, and cell phone service could go either way. If you’re not sure which type of inquiry a company may perform, just ask. In order for a hard credit check to be conducted – you, the consumer, will need to give your permission. For best credit results, try to limit the number of hard inquiries you agree to.
Not all credit checks are created equally. A soft credit inquiry generally will not impact your score. Meanwhile, a hard credit inquiry could cause a score decrease. Always be sure to weigh the pros and cons of a new service or line of credit before agreeing to any type of credit check.
Disclaimer: The content provided is for informational purposes only and not to give advice or guidance on credit improvement.