credit inquiries

Credit inquiries (or credit pulls) are when a creditor or lender sends a request to one of the credit agencies to review your credit report. This inquiry may become part of your credit history, depending on the type of request.

Soft inquiries (or soft pulls) happen when you check your own report, when a creditor is pre-approving you for an offer (like those pre-approved credit card and loan offers you get in the mail), or when a potential employer checks your credit. These are typically not recorded in your credit report and do not impact your credit score.

Hard inquiries (or hard pulls) are when a creditor requests to review your credit report as part of your application process for a credit card or other loan (auto, personal, mortgage, etc.) Hard inquiries do impact (decrease) your credit score. These inquiries create a timeline of when you have applied for new credit (and stay on your report about two years.) They tell lenders that you are currently shopping for new credit. Too many hard inquiries in a short period can have a temporary, negative affect on your credit score. Credit scoring models do consider the possibility that you’re rate shopping. For example, when buying a home or car most people check with several different lenders to find the best rate available. Credit agencies usually consider multiple inquiries of the same type in a short period of time (15-30 days) as a single inquiry. That will have a smaller impact on your credit score than multiple, separate inquiries.