As opposed to hard inquiries that are made when a prospective lender inquires about a person’s credit information with that person authorization – soft inquiries are made without the person’s consent, and usually without him knowing about it.
One can argue that soft inquiries are all the credit inquiries that are NOT hard inquiries.
All credit inquiries (hard and soft) are listed in your “Inquiry information” section of your credit report.
While hard inquiries affect a person’s credit score to some extent, it is important to emphasize that soft inquiries have no effect on credit scores whatsoever.
More so – Although YOUR copy on the credit report will list all credit inquiries, both hard and soft, the prospective lenders’ copy will only show hard inquiries.
Here are a few examples of what is considered as soft inquiry:
- Pulling your own free annual credit report. This is referred to as a “consumer disclosure” inquiry.
- Checking your credit score/credit report with companies like myFICO, Equifax, Experian & TransUnion. This is also referred to as a “consumer disclosure” inquiry.
- Prescreening inquiries where a credit bureau may sell a person’s contact information to an institution that issues credit cards, loans and insurance based on certain criteria that the lender has established.
- A creditor also checks its customers’ credit files periodically, to review an account in order to determine whether the consumer continues to meet the terms of the account. This is referred to as Account Management, Account Maintenance or Account Review.
- A credit counseling agency, with the client’s permission, can obtain a client’s credit report with no adverse action.
- Employment screening inquiries.
- Government or court inquiries.
- Insurance related inquiries.
- Utility related inquiries.
See hard inquiry for more information.