Mortgage 101
March 9, 2023

What You Should Know About Hard and Soft Credit Pulls

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Your credit standing plays a largely important part in your financial well-being. Strong credit, or a higher credit score number, can improve your chances of being approved for a mortgage, a lower interest rate, or a credit card. To stay up to date about your credit standing, it’s a good idea to check your credit report at least once a year. When it comes time to review your credit report, be sure you know what to look for when you’re reviewing your credit pulls.

What is a Credit Pull?

A credit pull, also known as a credit inquiry, occurs when there is a request to look at your credit file. Generally, a credit pull lands in two categories: hard and soft pulls.

What is a Soft Credit Pull?

A soft pull happens often, such as when you receive a credit card offer via mail, when a potential employer runs a background check, or when you pull your own credit report. These may be categorized on your credit report as promotional inquiries, account review inquiries, or general soft inquiries. Soft credit pulls don’t affect your overall credit score.

What is a Hard Credit Pull?

A hard credit pull occurs usually when you apply for a loan or credit account. Usually part of the qualification process, a lender or company will pull your credit report and numerical score to determine whether your financial standing can handle a loan or new credit account.

Because a hard pull affects your credit by lowering it a few points, written consent is needed from the borrower before a lender can do a pull. Too many hard credit pulls may give a lender or financial institution the idea that you’re a high-risk borrower because a high credit score has the potential to lead to a high debt-to-income ratio.

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