Ever wonder why your credit score is different online at a source like Credit Karma vs. when we review it for your mortgage? Learn and understand the true differences between a hard pull and soft pull when it comes to your credit.
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What is a soft pull?
A soft pull or soft inquiry on your credit report is the most common occurrence for most individuals when they review their credit scores. Most credit reporting services such as Credit Karma, any you see through your personal credit card or other free reporting through banking services is considered a soft pull.
Some other basic examples of a soft pull could be a credit card company or bank reviews your credit to pre-qualify you for certain offers or other cards such as a new rewards card, a personal, or auto loan. Some employers check your credit before hiring you and this is also normally done with a soft pull. On occasion a rental or property management company will soft pull credit prior to leasing you an apartment.
Thankfully, soft inquiries do not directly affect your credit scores. Most soft inquiries will not show up on your credit report either so chances are you will not be aware of them. It’s important to monitor your credit report for any inquiries and keep an eye on any you see that you did not authorize or were not aware of.
What is a hard pull?
Hard pulls, also known as hard inquiries, occur when a creditor checks your credit for the purpose of extending you credit. This can be for any type of loan including a car loan, credit card, line of credit or other loan.
An attempt to receive credit will almost always show on your credit report as a hard pull. A hard credit inquiry can also reduce your credit score but will mostly be looked at over an annual period. Be aware of how many times you get your credit pulled, for what purposes, and how often. Each inquiry is added on to your report. Many multiple hard pulls in a 12 month period can lower your credit significantly and drop you a tier in credit if you aren’t careful.
You shouldn’t be afraid to shop around though. Several hard credit inquiries from the same company or for the same type of credit, such as shopping for a good car loan, mortgage, or student loan refi rate in a short amount of time will not effect your credit.
Why is my score different?
When looking at a soft pull score or FICO you will normally see a variance in scores of several points as that is calculated differently and may not include all of your 3 bureau reports. Most credit monitoring programs only check 2 of the 3 bureaus or calculate differently to achieve their score.
When you use a mortgage broker for your needs we limit your inquiries by shopping your loan scenario around for you. No need to shop and check a bunch of places. We have access to a wide array of lenders and will always do our best to get you the most affordable mortgage and lowest rate possible.