There are different types of credit inquiries namely hard and soft inquiries, now what’s the difference between hard and soft inquiries.

Hard Inquiry

This is when a lender checks your credit before approving you for a major loan like a mortgage or car loan or a credit card you’ve applied for.

Soft Inquiry

A soft inquiry, on the other hand, happens when you get an offer from a lender, like a pre-approved credit card, or when you check your own credit.

Difference Between Hard and Soft Inquiries

Hard inquiries happen when you apply for a loan, credit card or mortgage and the lender checks your credit score history to decide whether or not to offer you a loan. Hard inquiries remain on your report for two years, and lowers your credit score by a few points. Having too many hard inquiries in a short period of time makes lenders see you as a high-risk customer.

Soft Inquiries do not affect your credit score, even though they are pulled on your credit all the time. This 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. Most times, only you can see soft inquiries that appear on your credit report.

Why Hard Inquiries Happen Instead of Soft Inquiries

Hard inquiries happen when you apply for a loan and the creditor reviews your credit score before granting the loan, unlike soft inquiries that can occur without your knowledge.

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Hard inquiries come up when the lenders needs to review your credit history before you can be eligible for a loan. Thus if you’ve applied for a mortgage, loan or a credit card, expect a hard inquiry. You will for sure know when a hard inquiry happens, because lender needs yourconsent to carry out one.

Options Before an Inquiry

There are few options to consider if you are worried about the effect a hard inquiry can have on your credit score.

Before you apply for any kind of major loan be it auto, student or mortgage loans, first, ask the lender if a hard or soft inquiry will be needed in order to secure the loans.

Reduce your credit inquiries mostly the hard ones to the barest minimum. Crosscheck also the hard inquiries you actually initiated with those that pop up on your credit report to avoid credit card fraud.


Even though too many hard inquiries portray you as a credit risk, rating agencies understand that several inquiries in a short span of time may be because you’re “rate shopping”. Thus, the agencies will group those inquiries, like from several mortgage lenders if you’re home loan shopping, into a single hard inquiry on your report.

Be it as it may, try and boycott hard inquiries as much as you can to have a healthy credit score.