How do they affect your score?
Like most things in life, credit scores can be frustrating if you don't understand how they work. Did you know there could be errors on your credit report that are damaging your score? Or that not using your credit cards could backfire against you? And did you know that when some retailers and financial institutions access your credit report, the credit inquiries that occur could hurt your score ... while other inquiries won't? Not knowing these facts could seriously damage your creditworthiness in the eyes of potential lenders, so it's important to stay on top of your credit education. But let's go back to the topic of credit inquiries. What exactly are they? Why are there different type, and more importantly, which kind could affect your credit? These are just some of the questions we'll cover:
What is a hard inquiry?
A hard inquiry is an inquiry that occurs when a prospective lender checks your credit report to make a lending decision. Hard inquiries can slightly lower your credit score and will typically stay on your report for two years.
What is a soft inquiry?A soft inquiry is an inquiry that occurs when a person or company checks your credit report as a background check, like when you check your credit score or a mortgage lender preapproves you for a loan. Soft inquiries can occur without your permission, but don't worry -- they won't affect your credit in any way.
Do inquiries affect my credit score?While soft inquiries won't lower your score, hard inquiries could slightly lower your score. The good news: Hard inquiries typically don't affect your credit score by much -- factors such as your payment history and credit utilization rate are usually weighted more heavily. However, the impact of an inquiry can vary according to your credit history. If you have few accounts, a short credit history or a ton of inquiries, an additional hard inquiry could have a greater impact on your score.