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Hard Inquiry Vs Soft Inquiry


What is a hard inquiry?

Hard inquiries generally occur when a financial institution, such as a lender or credit card issuer, checks your credit report when making a lending decision. They commonly take place when you apply for a loan, credit card or mortgage, and you typically have to authorize them.

Hard inquiries could lower your credit score by a few points and may remain on your credit report for two years. Fortunately, as time passes, the damage to your credit score usually decreases or disappears, often even before the hard inquiry falls off your credit report.

What is a soft inquiry?

Soft inquiries typically occur when a person or company checks your credit report as part of a background check. Examples include employer background checks, getting pre-approved for credit card offers and checking your own credit score. Unlike hard inquiries, a soft inquiry may occur without your permission. However, they won't affect your credit score. Soft inquiries may or may not be recorded in your credit report, depending on the credit bureau.

One of the biggest credit misconceptions is that checking your own credit score using companies like Credit Karma will hurt your credit score. This is not the case. You can check your credit scores at Credit Karma as often as you like without affecting your credit score

Hard Inquiries

Usually

  • Applying for an auto loan, student loan, business loan or personal loan

  • Applying for a credit card

  • Applying for a mortgage

Sometimes

  • Applying to rent an apartment

  • Verification of identity by a financial institution, such as a credit union or stock brokerage

  • Renting a car

  • Getting a cable or Internet account

  • Opening a checking, savings or money market account

  • Requesting a credit limit increase

  • Getting a cell phone contract

Soft Inquiries

Usually

  • Checking your own credit score

  • Pre-approved credit card and loan offers

  • Background check, such as those done by employers

Sometimes

  • Applying to rent an apartment

  • Verification of identity by a financial institution, such as a credit union or stock brokerage

  • Renting a car

  • Getting a cable or Internet account

  • Opening a checking, savings or money market account


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