What Is A Soft Credit Check?

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Whenever you apply for anything—a loan, credit card, etc.—the lender will need to look into your credit report. Called a credit check, there are two kinds of credit checks—hard and soft. 

Each is used for different reasons and has a different impact on your credit score.  

What Is a Soft Credit Check?

A soft credit check occurs when someone pulls your credit report, but it isn’t used to decide whether to offer you credit. In most cases, soft credit checks are for informational or promotional purposes. 

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Informational soft credit checks. 

Examples include pulling your own report to see what’s on it, employers pulling it with your permission as part of a background check and insurance agencies looking at your score to help determine the level of risk you might bring as a client. 

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These are typically run by creditors who want to see if they can offer you potential products. For example, if you receive a mailing from a personal loan or credit card company stating you have been prequalified for potential credit, that company has probably run a soft check. 

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Promotional soft credit checks. 

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Soft vs. Hard Credit Check

Soft credit checks are different from hard inquiries. Hard inquiries occur when a lender is making a final decision about whether to lend you money.

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