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The Difference Between Soft Pulls & Hard Pulls on Your Credit Report

A "pull" on your credit report is the term that is used to refer to an existing or potential creditor accessing your credit file to look into your credit history.  There are two different types of pulls that can be performed and they affect your credit score in different ways.

A "Soft" pull or inquiry is a pull that occurs most often without your knowledge.  The good news is that you need not worry because these types of pulls do not affect your credit score.  Soft pulls can be done for promotional purposes, like receiving a credit card offer in the mail.  Other types of soft pulls include employment background checks and checking your own credit score.  An employer is allowed to access your credit file for employment purposes, as long as you have knowledge and provide your existing or potential employer with written consent to do so.  Access into your credit file by an employer will not affect your score.  Likewise, you may check your own credit report as often as you like without it affecting your score.   

A "Hard" pull or inquiry does adversely affect your credit score.  You should always be aware of hard pulls because you must authorize this access into your credit history.  For example, when you apply for credit or a refinance or a loan, you give a company permission to access your credit file prior to approving you.  This access helps the creditor determine whether or not to approve you and at what interest rate your may be approved for.  This type of inquiry becomes part of your credit report and is included in the inquiry section of your credit file.  Hard inquiries may be viewed by other existing or potential lenders.  It is important to understand that when you are shopping around for the best deal or interest rate, several pulls conducted for the same purpose within a 45 day period will be treated as a single pull for purposes of your credit score.  It is still important not to apply for too many loans or credit cards because it can drag your score down or be a cause for concern with lenders if you are inquiring too often.  A large number of inquiries may raise a red flag to existing or potential lenders that you are a potential risk.

For more information regarding your credit report or to speak with an attorney, please contact SmithMarco, P.C. for a free case review.   

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