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The Impact of Hard vs Soft Credit Pulls: What You Need to Know

The Impact of Hard vs. Soft Credit Pulls: What You Need to Know

In the world of credit scores, every move you make can have an impact. One such move is when lenders or credit card companies check your credit history, known as a credit pull.

But not all credit pulls are created equal. There are two types: hard credit pulls and soft credit pulls. Understanding the difference and the impact of hard vs soft credit pulls on your credit score is essential for financial success.

Understanding the Impact of Hard vs Soft Credit Pulls

How Hard Credit Pulls Can Affect Your Credit Score

Hard credit pulls can potentially lower your credit score. When you apply for credit, such as a loan or a new credit card, lenders typically conduct a hard credit pull to assess your creditworthiness. Each hard pull leaves a mark on your credit report, which can cause your score to dip slightly.

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However, it’s important to note that the impact of hard pulls on your score is usually minimal and short-lived. Multiple hard inquiries within a short period, such as when shopping for a mortgage, are often treated as a single inquiry. This means that your credit score won’t be heavily penalized for rate shopping.

Debunking the Myth: Does Rate Shopping Hurt Your Credit Score?

Rate shopping, the process of comparing offers from different lenders for the same type of loan, is a smart financial move. Contrary to popular belief, rate shopping does not significantly negatively impact your credit score. FICO, the most widely used credit scoring model, considers that consumers may seek multiple loan offers. As long as your rate shopping occurs within a short timeframe, it will typically be treated as a single inquiry.

Tips for Rate Shopping Without Damaging Your Credit Score

While rate shopping doesn’t harm your credit score, it’s still important to approach it wisely. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Do your research: Before submitting loan applications, thoroughly research lenders and their terms. This way, you can make a shortlist of the most suitable options.
  2. Apply within a short timeframe: Try to complete your rate shopping within a 14- to 45-day window. This minimizes the impact of multiple credit pulls, as they will be consolidated into one.
  3. Check for pre-approval: Consider checking if lenders offer pre-approval, which involves a soft credit pull. Pre-approval gives you a better idea of loan terms without affecting your credit score.

The Influence of Credit Type on Credit Pulls

Credit pulls also depend on the type of credit you’re applying for. For example, mortgage and auto loan lenders are more likely to conduct a hard credit pull since these loans carry higher risks. On the other hand, when you open a new credit card, the issuer may perform either a hard or soft credit pull, depending on their policies.

Who Conducts Hard Credit Pulls?

Lenders or financial institutions typically perform hard credit pulls when you apply for credit. This includes banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders, and credit card companies.

Unauthorized Hard Credit Pulls: What to Do

If you notice unauthorized hard inquiries on your credit report, take immediate action to resolve the issue. First, contact the company that conducted the inquiry to inquire about the situation. If the issue is not resolved, you can file a dispute with the credit reporting agencies to have the inquiry removed from your report.

Understanding the impact of hard and soft credit pulls is crucial for maintaining a healthy credit score. While hard pulls may cause a temporary dip in your score, the effect is usually minimal and short-lived. It’s important to note that rate shopping, a common practice when seeking loans, does not significantly negatively impact your credit score. You can rate shop without damaging your credit score by following a few simple tips, such as conducting thorough research, applying within a short timeframe, and checking for pre-approval.

Moreover, it’s essential to consider the influence of credit type on credit pulls. Different types of credit applications may result in either hard or soft credit pulls, depending on the lender’s policies and the level of risk associated with the loan. For instance, mortgage and auto loan lenders are more likely to conduct hard credit pulls due to the higher risks involved. On the other hand, credit card issuers may perform either a hard or soft credit pull when you apply for a new credit card.

If you ever encounter unauthorized hard inquiries on your credit report, taking immediate action is crucial. Start by contacting the company that conducted the inquiry to understand the situation. If the issue remains unresolved, you can file a dispute with the credit reporting agencies to have the unauthorized inquiry removed from your report. You can protect your credit score and maintain a strong financial standing by staying vigilant and proactive.

Exploring the Benefits of Soft Credit Pulls

Common Users of Soft Credit Pulls

Soft credit pulls are checks that do not impact your credit score. They are commonly used by employers, landlords, and insurance companies to verify your creditworthiness without affecting your credit history. Soft credit pulls are also used when you check your own credit score.

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Employers often use soft credit pulls as part of their hiring process to assess a candidate’s financial responsibility. Employers can gain insights into their financial stability and make informed decisions by reviewing an applicant’s credit report. This practice benefits employers and job seekers, as it allows them to showcase their creditworthiness and potentially increase their chances of securing employment.

Similarly, landlords utilize soft credit pulls to evaluate potential tenants. By examining an applicant’s credit report, landlords can assess their ability to pay rent on time and their overall financial reliability. This helps landlords make informed decisions when selecting tenants, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free rental experience for both parties involved.

Insurance companies also rely on soft credit pulls to determine the risk associated with insuring an individual. By reviewing an applicant’s credit report, insurance companies can assess their likelihood of making insurance claims and calculate appropriate premiums. This practice helps insurance providers offer fair rates to customers based on their creditworthiness, ensuring a balanced and sustainable insurance market.

Is Checking Your Own Credit Score Considered a Soft Pull?

If you’re concerned about your credit score and want to keep tabs on it, checking your own credit score is considered a soft credit pull. Monitoring your credit score regularly provides valuable insights into your financial health without any negative consequences.

When you check your own credit score, it allows you to stay informed about your creditworthiness and identify any potential errors or fraudulent activities. By regularly monitoring your credit score, you can take proactive steps to maintain or improve it, such as paying bills on time, reducing debt, and disputing any inaccuracies. This knowledge empowers you to make better financial decisions and work towards achieving your financial goals.

Furthermore, checking your credit score can help you detect early signs of identity theft. By reviewing your credit report, you can identify any unauthorized accounts or suspicious activities that may indicate someone is using your personal information fraudulently. This allows you to take immediate action and protect yourself from further harm.

Understanding the difference between hard and soft credit pulls empowers you to make informed financial decisions. Don’t be afraid to shop for the best loan rates or regularly check your credit score. With this knowledge, you can confidently navigate the world of credit pulls and maintain a healthy credit profile.

Mark

Mark J. Kane, Founder & CEO of Sunwise Capital, is a distinguished entrepreneur with over 16 years in business financing. Beginning as a psychologist, he quickly became a trailblazing Hospital Administrator. Mark has built multiple ventures, notably accelerating a startup to $18M within months. His transition to Sunwise Capital stems from a deep-seated desire to empower business owners with strategic financial solutions. Recognized for his expertise, Mark's leadership at Sunwise Capital reflects his commitment to fostering business growth and success. Click the link to read more about the author.

Category: Advice

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