Does checking your credit score lower it?
The short answer is no. The mere act of checking your credit score won’t hurt it. This is just one of many misconceptions about what does and doesn’t affect your credit score that many people buy into. But there are other actions that will hurt it, and reading a bit more about the subject will go a long way toward keeping your score in good shape.
Soft credit check vs. hard credit check
Essentially, a hard credit check is the kind that can lower your credit score, but a soft credit check won’t affect it.
While every time someone checks your credit score, it’s recorded as a “hit” or “pull” in your files, not every inquiry can be seen by everyone.
What is a soft credit check?
Soft credit checks can only be seen by you and the person who made the original inquiry. This means that when a prospective lender looks at your credit file, they won’t see any of the soft credit pulls that have taken place, only the hard ones.
Basically, a soft credit check refers to any time someone reviews your credit for non-lending purposes.
What is a hard credit check?
A hard credit check is associated with someone looking for credit. It’s visible to anyone who checks your file in the future, and it doesn’t look good for your creditworthiness.
It’s not recommended to apply for a lot of credit products over and over, as most credit card companies and loan providers run hard credit checks when evaluating applications for their cards and loans, and a number of hard credit checks in a short time can do damage to your credit score. There are, however, exceptions among secured card issuers and no-credit lenders, some of which offer products that don’t require a credit check.
How to minimize the damage of hard credit checks
At this point, you’re probably wondering how you can ever safely get a credit card without damaging your score. You’ll also probably need a mortgage at some point, which requires hard credit inquiries, as well. But this is nothing to panic over.
The main thing to remember is not to have too many hard credit checks on file at once. If you’re in the market for a credit card, new car financing, or a mortgage, it’s best to make all of the applications within a couple of weeks, so that they all show up as one set of applications rather than many hard credit hits.
You can minimize the risk of credit card rejection by only applying for credit cards that you actually need and are likely to be approved for. Check your credit score (soft check) before you apply for a credit card, so that you can be sure that your credit rating falls within the credit card company’s requirements. Certain credit cards also allow you to check the interest rate you could qualify for before you apply for the card. This service is categorized as a soft credit check, so it won’t harm your credit score for the future.