Hard Inquiry | What is Hard Inquiry | Difference Between Hard & Soft Inquiry

Your credit score may be impacted by a hard inquiry, and this may stay on your credit reports for about two years unlike soft inquiry that won’t affect your credit score.

Hard Inquiry

What is Hard Inquiry?

Otherwise known as “hard pulls” hard inquiries generally happens when a financial institution, like a lender or credit card issuer, checks your credit when trying to make a lending decision. This commonly happens when you apply for a mortgage loan or credit card, and you normally have to authorize them.

Your credit scores may take a dip by a few points because of a hard inquiry, or it may have an effect on your scores.

What is a Soft Inquiry?

Soft inquiries otherwise called “soft pulls” occurs when a person or company checks your credit as part of a background check. This may happen when a credit issuer checks your credit without your permission to inquire if you are qualified for certain card offers. Soft inquiries some times too can be done by your employer before hiring you.

Here, soft inquiries do not impact on your credit scores. Note (soft inquiries may or may not be recorded in your credit reports, depending on the credit bureau). Note also that since soft inquiries are not connected to a specific application for new credit, they can only be seen when you view your credit reports.

Difference Between Hard and Soft Inquiries

Hard Inquiry

This happens when you apply for a loan, credit card or mortgage and the lender happens to check your credit score history to make a decision whether or not to offer you a loan. This can stay on your report for two years, and will decrease your credit score by a few points. Too many hard inquiries in a short period of time is not good for you, and makes lenders see you as a high-risk customer.

Soft Inquiry

This has no effect on your credit score, even though they are pulled on your credit all the time. Soft inquiries happens when you get a credit card offer in the mail, when a potential employer performs a background check, or when you check your credit score. Note, most times, only you can see soft inquiries that come up on your credit report.

Why Hard Inquiries Occur Instead of Soft Inquiries

Hard inquiries occurs when you apply for a loan and the creditor carriesout a background check your credit score todecide whether or not to grant youa loan, unlike soft inquiries that can occur without your permission.

If you’ve applied for a mortgage, loan or a credit card, expect a hard inquiry because certainly, lenders will check you out before granting you one. Whena hard inquiry happens, you will certainlyknow it did, because lender needs your consent to carry out one.

Here are some general guide of some hard and soft inquiries;

Common Hard Inquiries

  • Personal loan applications
  • Credit card applications
  • Apartment rental applications
  • Mortgage applications
  • Student loan applications
  • Auto loan applications.

Common Soft Inquiries

  • “Pre-qualified” credit card offers
  • Employment verification (background check).
  • Checking your credit scores
  • “Pre-qualified” insurance quotes.


If you want to avoid having hard inquiries, then before you apply for any kind of major loan be it auto, student or mortgage loans, inquire first from the lender if a hard or soft inquiry will be needed in order to secure the loans. Secondly, try as much as you can to reduce your credit inquiries mostly the hard ones to the barest minimum to safeguard your credit scores.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here