difference between hard and soft credit inquiries
When you apply for credit, lenders will usually check your credit report to assess your creditworthiness. There are two types of credit inquiries that can appear on your credit report: hard inquiries and soft inquiries. In this blog post, we’ll explore the difference between hard and soft credit inquiries, and how they can impact your credit score.
Hard Credit Inquiries
A hard credit inquiry occurs when a lender or creditor checks your credit report as part of the credit application process. Hard inquiries are typically initiated by the borrower, and they’re used to determine creditworthiness for products like credit cards, loans, and mortgages. Hard inquiries can have a negative impact on your credit score, as they suggest that you’re actively seeking credit.
Soft Credit Inquiries
Soft credit inquiries, on the other hand, are credit checks that don’t impact your credit score. Soft inquiries can be initiated by you or by third parties, such as potential employers or insurance companies. Soft inquiries are typically used to pre-qualify you for credit offers, or to monitor your credit report for fraud.
How Credit Inquiries Impact Your Credit Score
Hard credit inquiries can have a negative impact on your credit score, as they suggest that you’re actively seeking credit. Each hard inquiry can reduce your credit score by a few points, although the impact is typically small and temporary. Multiple hard inquiries within a short period of time can have a more significant impact on your credit score.
Soft credit inquiries, on the other hand, don’t impact your credit score at all. Soft inquiries are only visible to you and don’t appear on credit reports that are seen by lenders.
How to Minimize the Impact of Credit Inquiries
If you’re concerned about the impact of credit inquiries on your credit score, there are a few things you can do to minimize their impact:
1. Space out your credit applications:
Try to avoid applying for multiple credit products within a short period of time. Instead, space out your credit applications over a longer period.
2. Check for pre-qualification offers:
Many lenders offer pre-qualification checks that allow you to see if you’re likely to be approved for credit without initiating a hard inquiry.
3. Monitor your credit report:
Regularly monitoring your credit report can help you identify any unauthorized hard inquiries and take action to dispute them.
Understanding the difference between hard and soft credit inquiries can help you manage your credit score and avoid unnecessary damage. By spacing out your credit applications, checking for pre-qualification offers, and monitoring your credit report, you can ensure that your credit report remains accurate and up-to-date.