What’s the difference between soft credit inquiry and hard credit inquiry? 

If you’ve applied for credit or financing, and the lender checks your credit score, you’ve likely experienced what’s called a hard credit inquiry.

When they review your credit report, lenders often make a note. Lenders use this information to assess how well you’ve handled credit in the past and how often you pay your bills on time. Lenders also check for negative marks on credit reports.

They want to see how much credit you have and for how long. Creditors use these factors to decide whether they will extend credit.

You can prepare for a hard credit inquiry by monitoring your credit reports. Soft credit inquiries are a way to check your credit reports.

What is a difficult question?

Hard inquiries are also known as “hard pulls” or “hard credit checks.” They are performed by a financial institution, such as a lender, credit card issuer, or credit card issuer, to verify your credit history before making a loan decision. These questions are most common when you apply for a mortgage, loan, or credit card. Usually, you will need to authorize them.

Although hard inquiries may have a minimal impact on your score, they can also affect your score by a few percentage points. One hard inquiry won’t significantly affect your ability to get a loan or credit card approved. The investigation will usually be removed from your credit report, and the damage to your credit score is generally lessened or gone. Hard credit checks are typically kept on your credit reports for two years.

This isn’t too bad. You might consider applying for multiple credit cards at once, or in a short amount of time. Lenders and credit card issuers may consider you a more risky customer if you submit multiple hard inquiries in a short period. This is because it could indicate that you have little cash or are in a lot of debt. Spread your credit card application.


Is there a limit to the number of complex inquiries you can make?

Hard inquiries will have an impact on your overall credit health. While a few hard questions may lower your credit score, they are unlikely to have any significant effect.

Your score will be affected more if you have many complex inquiries within a short time frame. Credit-scoring models and lenders view multiple credit applications in a short period as a sign you are at high risk. This is why your score will suffer more. If you are looking for specific types of loans such as student loans, car loans, or mortgages, there are exceptions to the rule.

What is a soft query?

Soft inquiries are also called soft pulls, soft credit checks, or soft credit checks. They are checks that are done to confirm your eligibility for a credit card. A credit card issuer might check your credit report without your consent to determine whether your credit score is suitable for certain credit cards. Your employer may conduct a soft inquiry to decide whether or not you are eligible for certain credit cards.

Your credit score will not be affected by soft inquiries as much as hard inquiries. Depending on the credit bureau where they were, they might or may not appear in your credit reports. They don’t need to be connected to a request for new credit. Soft inquiries are only visible if you check your credit reports.

Examples of hard credit inquiries and soft credit inquiries

All it comes down to issuing permission for the lender to examine your credit. If you have permitted the lender to review your credit, it may be considered a difficult inquiry. If you didn’t allow to check your credit, it should be reported as a soft inquiry.

Let’s look at some scenarios where credit reports might be subject to a hard or soft inquiry. These lists should not be taken as an exhaustive list.

Common hard questions

  • Mortgage application
  • Auto loan applications
  • Credit card application
  • Student loans application
  • Request for a personal loan
  • Apartment rental applicant

Common soft questions

  • Credit Karma lets you check your credit score
  • Prequalified credit cards are available
  • “Prequalified” insurance quotes
  • Background check to verify employment verification

There are many types of credit checks. These can be either a hard or soft inquiry. Many companies will check your credit, including cable, internet, and phone providers.


If you have any questions about classifying an inquiry, ask the financial institution, credit card issuer, or company.

How to dispute credit inquiries

Regular credit checks are a brilliant idea. Any errors found, including a hard inquiry without your consent, can be disputed with the credit bureau. You can also reach the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for further assistance.

According to Experian, this could be a sign of identity theft, one of the three largest credit bureaus. It is worth investigating the matter and trying to understand the circumstances.

Without your permission, you cannot contest any hard inquiry. A hard inquiry you have authorized to be removed is usually done within two years.

How to minimize the impact of hard credit inquiries

When buying a house, or a car, don’t be afraid of getting multiple inquiries. Instead, look for the lowest interest rate.

FICO allows you to have a grace time of 30 days before specific loan inquiries, such as for auto or mortgage, are recorded in FICO(r). Credit scores. FICO can record multiple requests for the same type of loan (like a mortgage or auto) if they are made within a specified window. The window lasts approximately 14 days.

Some lenders will allow you to shop longer without needing to make additional inquiries. It is best to limit your shopping time to 14 days. It is impossible to determine the scoring model used by your lender to calculate your score.

Next steps

Your credit score directly impacts your financial health. Before you apply for credit, improve your credit score. If you have more vital credit, you may be eligible to receive financial products with the best rates and terms.

You shouldn’t apply for multiple credit card applications in a brief period. While one inquiry may lower your score, numerous inquiries in a short period could do more damage unless the purpose is to rate-shop for a car or house. You will have a grace period to shop around in this case.