Understanding The Difference Between A Soft And Hard Credit Pull

by Hank Coleman

Understanding The Difference Between A Soft And Hard Credit PullThere are five parts that the Fair Isaac Corporation uses to comprise of your FICO credit score. Get Your Credit Scores & Reports From All 3 Credit Bureaus.

If you want the best credit score possible, you concentrate on these five components: your credit history, the length of your credit history, the amount of debt you have, the different types of credit you have borrowed, and finally how many inquiries into your credit report have been made recently. 90% of top lenders use FICO® Scores.

There are two types of inquiries or pulls into your credit report, either a soft credit pull or a hard credit pull.

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What Is A Hard Credit Pull?


A hard credit pull or hard credit inquiry is when a bank or lender pulls your credit report and credit score to determine whether or not you meet the requirements for them to lend you money.

A hard credit pull will reduce your credit score slightly. According to the Fair Isaac Corporation which runs and manages the FICO Credit Score, the one true credit score that over 90% of lenders use and rely on, new credit accounts for approximately 10% of the calculation of your total FICO credit score. Monitor your FICO Score

What Is A Soft Credit Pull?

A soft credit pull is when you request a copy of your own credit score and credit report. A soft pull can also occur when an employer or a landlord pulls your credit history as well. Soft credit pulls do not affect your credit score or count against you in any way.

So you should continue to check your credit report at least annually without any fear that your credit score will go down. Many financial planners recommend requesting your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus each year and staggered every four months to allow you to keep a close eye on your credit report and monitor for any changes.

Also another way to do that is to sign up for a credit monitoring service like the ones provided by TransUnion, Equifax, or LifeLock. I’m a huge fan of LifeLock after having two identity theft incidents earlier this year back to back.

Why A Hard Credit Pull Matters

Pinging your credit score or conducting a hard credit pull sends a signal that you are obviously looking for new credit and the likelihood of you paying back that and other debts is slightly diminished. For most people, a hard credit pull can reduce your overall credit score by approximately five points.

The better your credit score is will lessen the potential damage of a single hard credit pull. If you apply for multiple credit cards in a short period of time those hard credit inquiries can have a greater affect.

One factor that many people may not realize is that credit bureaus such as Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, and even Fair Isaac Corporation take into consideration that you may be shopping for a great mortgage rate or loan rate on certain types of loans such as a car loan.

In that case, multiple hard pulls for one types of consumer loan such as that is typically only considered one hard credit pull against your credit score.

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About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and a graduate certificate in personal financial planning. Email him directly at Hank[at]MoneyQandA.com.

Hank Coleman has written 582 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }


It’s funny how many people say they’re aware of the impact of their credit score on their life but then they have no clue about the hard vs soft inquiry. I have a service similar to lifelock but far cheaper through my bank. I check it monthly because I’m going to use the research in a new site. Maybe you can help me? It’ll be advanced credit building – for those trying to reach 850.



Sounds great! The mythical 850….I’ve had more than one person ask me about how they reach that mark. I’d love to help when you start.



Great post. I work at a bank and heave to explain why we have to pull customers credit reports daily.

Another great site to monitor your score is creditkarma.com. Its free to use, you can update your score as often as you like, and gives scenarios to find ways to improve your score.


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