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Tuesday Tip – Hard vs Soft Credit Inquiries

hard vs soft creditCredit plays a large role in our financial lives. Having good credit can put borrowers in a great position to qualify for apartments, mortgages, interest rates, and more. To find out about a borrower’s credit, a company will run a credit check. There are two types of credit checks: hard and soft. Hard vs soft credit inquiries have a similar purpose but may affect your credit in different ways. Learn the differences to better understand the impact each has on your credit and finances.

Hard vs Soft Credit Inquiries

We can’t understate the importance of credit education. It’s crucial! To better understand hard vs soft credit inquiries, let’s learn a little more about credit. Credit represents your financial health to possible lenders and is made up of multiple credit scoring factors. A credit report is a history of everything you are doing with your credit now and what you’ve done in the past. A credit score mathematically represents the information in your credit report. Your credit report and score affect your ability to get credit and the terms/rates of that credit. For example, if you are trying to get out of credit card debt, there is a good likelihood your credit score will reflect unsatisfactory numbers.

Hard Credit Inquiries

When you apply to take out a loan, lenders will run a hard inquiry. Lenders will run a hard inquiry when you want to take out a new credit card when you apply for a mortgage, or if you are looking for an auto loan. These credit inquiries can cause a slight dip in your credit score. And, the check will remain on your credit report for up to two years. While hard inquiries can lower your score, don’t be alarmed. Over time, the impact of the credit check will count less and less towards your overall score. Check out the credit scoring factors for more information.

Soft Credit Inquiries

Soft credit inquiries are more for the purposes of background checks or pre-approvals. Your employer, for example, could run a background check that includes a soft credit inquiry to see if there are any red flags or potential risk. Soft credit inquiries do not affect your credit in any way, but they can be run without your permission.

Another scenario where a soft credit inquiry could be pulled is when you are entering a debt management plan. During a credit counseling session at American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC), counselors will pull a soft inquiry to better help you assess your financial situation.

For any more questions about hard vs soft credit inquiries, debt relief, or other resources, contact ACCC at 1800-769-3571 or visit ConsumerCredit.com.

ABOUT AUTHOR / Madison

Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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