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What Is The Difference Between A Hard Credit Check And A Soft Credit Check?

By June 20, 2022June 24th, 2022No Comments
soft and hard credit check

What Is The Difference Between A Hard Credit Check And A Soft Credit Check?

It’s a good idea to check your three credit reports regularly. There is a distinction between monitoring your credit reports with Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian and giving someone else access to your credit information. A hard inquiry is one form of credit check that might harm your credit ratings.

What Is a Credit Inquiry and How Does It Work?

This is referred to as a credit inquiry when someone seeks and obtains your credit information. A request for information, or “inquiry,” is sent to one of the three credit bureaus. If the person or entity making the request has legal authority, the credit bureau may release your credit report. Exceptions are if you’ve put a credit freeze on your information.

You have the right under federal law to know who has accessed your credit information. A credit reporting agency must record each credit inquiry (also known as a credit check or a credit pull) in your credit file. As a rule, most credit inquiries remain on your credit record for two years.

What is a Hard Credit Check?

A hard credit check or inquiry is usually performed when applying for anything. If a complex search appears on your credit record, it can reduce your credit score.

Hard inquiries include the following sorts of credit checks.

  • Requests for loans (mortgage, auto, student, personal, etc.)
  • Applications for credit cards
  • Increases in credit limit requests
  • Lines of credit applications
  • Utility apps that are brand new
  • Rental applications for apartments
  • The collection agency skips the tracing process.

What is a Soft Credit Check?

Your credit score is unaffected by soft credit queries. Soft credit queries will not appear on your credit record if a lender examines it. Soft inquiries appear solely on consumer disclosures, which are credit reports you obtain yourself.

Soft inquiries include the following sorts of credit checks.

  • Credit checks on individuals
  • Pre-approved credit offers
  • Applications for insurance
  • Current creditors do account reviews.
  • Applications for jobs
  • Your Credit Scores and Hard Credit Checks

What Is the Importance of Thorough Investigations?

When a lender examines your credit record, your credit score has the potential to drop. The explanation for this is basic math. According to statistics, people who seek new credit are riskier than those who do not.

According to FICO, consumers with five or more credit inquiries in the last 12 months are more likely than those with zero queries to become 90+ days past due on a credit obligation. Compared to individuals with zero credit inquiries, those with six or more credit inquiries are eight times more likely to declare bankruptcy.

Lenders and other businesses use credit scores to assess the risk of doing business with you. Both FICO and VantageScore credit ratings indicate the chance of a customer defaulting on any credit commitment during the following 24 months (i.e., being 90 days late).

Your credit score might drop if anything on your credit record indicates you’re more likely to fail on a financial commitment. Hard credit inquiries and other behaviors that raise your credit risks, such as excessive credit card use, late payments, and additional negative credit information, are examples.

What Will a Hard Inquiry Cost You in Points?

According to FICO, a new inquiry lowers a credit score by fewer than five points on average. As the question ages, it should have less of an influence on your score until it no longer counts. The credit scoring procedure is a little more complicated when you break it down.

Hard credit queries don’t have nearly as much impact on your credit score as other elements. Credit inquiries, for example, account for 10% of your credit score in FICO scoring models. On the other hand, your payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO Score. Under VantageScore credit scoring methods, hard queries are even less critical. VantageScore only uses hard questions to compute 5% of your score.

Individual credit queries do not have a uniform point value. For example, you can’t declare that a new hard inquiry would drop your credit score by five points. That is not how credit scores are calculated.

A credit scoring model, on the other hand, takes into account the overall number of queries on your credit report and the age of those questions. The remainder of your credit report is also essential. For persons with minimal credit history, a new hard inquiry may significantly influence their credit score more than those with older, more established credit reports.

How Long Do Credit Inquiries Remain on Your Report?

The majority of credit reporting is done voluntarily. Credit card companies are not obligated to disclose client information with credit bureaus. Credit card accounts aren’t needed to be included on credit reports. Because it helps corporations enhance their profit lines, account information is recorded and included in credit reports.

Inquiries vary from one another. When credit bureaus provide anybody accesses to your credit information, they are obligated by law to notify you. Most queries must remain on your credit report for at least 12 months, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Employment inquiries are required to stay on your credit report for 24 months.

In most cases, credit reporting companies choose to maintain queries on your credit reports for two years. On the other hand, FICO only examines hard inquiries from the previous year. A hard investigation that is more than a year old has no bearing on your FICO Score.

When it comes to queries, VantageScore is once again more liberal. If a hard inquiry decreases your VantageScore credit score, it should recover within three to four months (provided no new negative information appears on your credit report).

What Do Soft and Hard Inquiries Mean?

Soft Check

  • Affect your credit score by not affecting your credit score by affecting your credit score 
  • Creditors use this method to deliver pre-approved proposals.
  • It is possible to do so without your permission.

Hard Check

  • Have an impact on your credit score
  • When you seek credit or a loan, creditors and lenders do this.
  • Consent must be given in writing.

What Is the Impact of Credit Inquiries on Your Credit Score?

A hard inquiry might reduce your credit score by zero to five points. The score includes the time since your last query. Any issues lost rely on a person’s credit history. Apply for credit only if you need it.

The FICO score can determine whether you’re shopping around. Four mortgage applications in 45 days will only count as one hard inquiry on your FICO score. VantageScore and prior FICO versions only allow 14 days. To be safe, compare rates quickly.


Hard credit inquiries have a small, if any, influence on your credit ratings. Credit inquiries are less potent than other credit score criteria, but that doesn’t imply they aren’t necessary.

You won’t have to check your credit on your own. These gentle credit checks will never harm your credit score. However, wherever possible, restrict harsh credit checks.

A single credit application will most likely influence your credit score. Within a 45-day timeframe, responsible rate shopping for student loans, car loans, or mortgages is usually acceptable. However, if you apply for many new accounts in a short time, your credit scores may suffer, and you may need to rebuild your credit.

Taylor Day