Part of your credit score comes from the number of inquiries your history shows. When applying for new lines of credit such as home loans, car loans or credit cards, the lender may pull your credit score which results in a hard inquiry. A hard inquiry shows up on your credit report.  A soft inquiry will not show up on your credit report because it uses different information to preapprove you.

Hard Inquiries and Your Credit Score

If you apply for credit, such as a mortgage, car loan or credit card, the lender will check your credit score from one or more of the major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, Equifax). With these inquiries being tied to an actual credit application, they can affect your credit scores. Too many hard inquiries in a short period of time can be concerning to lenders because it may add up to numerous new accounts. New credit accounts may mean you’re having trouble paying bills or anticipate a change in income. The negative affect on your credit score from inquiries is shorter term and inquiries are typically removed after two years and their effect becomes less severe over time.

Soft Inquiries and Your Credit Score

Checking your own credit report or giving permission to someone like a potential employer to review your credit report, a soft inquiry occurs. Soft inquiries may also occur when a business or lender checks your credit to preapprove you for offers. Soft inquiries aren’t linked to a specific application for new credit, so they do not affect your credit score.


Multiple inquiries don’t always mean you won’t be approved but try to keep your inquiries down. If you are applying for new lines of credit, be sure you’re going to be approved and try not to drag the process out too long. If you have hard inquiries that you didn’t give permission for, dispute them with the credit bureaus and make sure you are not being targeted for fraud.