Soft vs Hard Credit Check: Which Is Financially Healthier?

Both hard and soft checks are typically run by lenders, credit card companies, landlords, and even potential employers. But what’s the difference and how do you prepare for them? Read on to know more.
Soft vs Hard Credit Check: Which Is Financially Healthier?
Credit checks can be pretty confusing, especially if you’re not one to keep track of your credit reports. However, it’s a good idea to learn the differences between hard and soft credit checks, because one of them could affect your credit scores in the long run.
In this article

Most people aren’t aware that hard and soft credit checks are pulled on their accounts. According to a study conducted by Javelin, nearly a quarter of Americans have never checked their scores. In short, a credit inquiry is a process in which a party requests your credit information. Both soft and hard inquiries are necessary to build a healthy credit history – they just differ in terms of circumstance.

Who’s running these hard and soft checks?

Both hard and soft checks are typically run by lenders, credit card companies, landlords, and even potential employers. Moreover, a Credit Reports and Scores article published by explains that the three major credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are able to report, update and store consumers’ credit histories. You are entitled to a free annual credit report from each agency.

Purpose of hard and soft credit checks

Clients are often seen as investments. As we highlight in our blog post on 7 differences between savings and investments, investments are not without risks, which is why financial institutions assess how trustworthy you are as a potential client. They want to see how responsible you are with paying off credit and debts, and how much you’re still balancing. A good credit score can allow you to get your applications approved easily, and even extend existing ones.

Consent matters

Another major difference between the two is that you’re likely to know when a hard check will take place because you have to give the lender consent. This will often be in the form of a credit report authorization document. Soft checks, on the other hand, are often performed without your consent because it doesn’t carry the same repercussions. For instance, companies perform soft checks to determine if you qualify for any offers or rewards.

You can Also See: Best 10 Instant Cash Advance With no Credit Check

Effect on your credit score

The main difference between the two lies in their effect on your credit score. A feature on hard vs soft credit checks by Upgraded Points explains that each hard inquiry can drop around five points from your overall score, and the effects will only wear off after six months. Furthermore, hard checks will remain visible on your credit report for up to two years. This is why you have to pace your financial requests wisely and prepare for these hard checks.

You can Also See: Personal Loan No Credit Check

How to prepare for hard and soft credit checks

To raise your chances of passing a hard check and getting your request approved, you’ll want to start preparing as early as now. Forbes Advisor suggests maintaining your utilization ratio below 30% and utilizing your yearly report from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. It’s also good to ask for a higher credit limit if you’re always bordering on 30% and to pay off any existing debts as much as you can. On the brighter side, you don’t really have to worry much about soft checks.

You can Also See: Loans With No Credit Checks


That said, frequent credit and loan applications can hurt your score as it indicates financial distress. But when it comes to hard checks, FICO and VantageScore both offer some leeway for those who want to go rate shopping to get the best rates possible. For student, auto and mortgage inquiries, there’s a 45-day safe harbor period. All other inquiries get a 14-day safe harbor period.

The bottom line is there are many similarities between soft and hard checks, and their main difference lies in the consent required, their effects on your credit score, and the amount of preparation needed. Both are necessary ways in which companies can determine how stable you are financially, and can help you snag some great deals. For more useful articles, feel free to check out the rest of our blog.

Was this helpful?

Did you like the post or would you like to give some feedback? Let us know your opinion by clicking one of the buttons below!

Allan Moses

Allan Moses

An editor and wordsmith by day, a singer and musician by night, Allan loves putting the fine in finesse with content curation. When he's not making dad jokes or having fun with puns, he's constantly looking to tell stories out of everything.

This page is purely informational. Beem does not provide financial, legal or accounting advice. This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide financial, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied on for the same. Please consult your own financial, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transactions.

Related Posts

Best credit cards for everyday use in 2024
Since credit cards strive with everyday purchasing activity, it’s a great opportunity to use them often for your purchases to maximize rewards.
How many credit cards should you own?
How many credit cards is the ideal number to have? While there is no hard and fast specification to this, there are pros and cons of having multiple cards. It all boils down to how well you’re able to handle your finances and your credit cards. Use them wisely, and you will be able to build up excellent credit. But even a small mistake can cost your credit score dearly. Besides, the amount of total credit you have impacts your score as well. Read on to find out more.
Can you use a Credit Card at a Casino – Credit Card For Gambling
How to get 1000 dollars fast?
How to Get 1000 Dollars Fast?
Are you looking for quick cash? Discover many methods in our tutorial "How to Get $1,000 Fast." From freelancing work to renting out space, these 15 options provide insights for everyone while ensuring financial objectives are reached. Investigate possibilities, emphasize consistency, and use tools like the Beem app for fast funding.
Highest FICO Score – Know About What Is The Highest Credit Score
If your goal is to attain a perfect credit score, you have to aim for a credit score of 850. That’s the highest FICO score and VantageScore available for the most widely preferred versions of credit scoring models. 



Get up to $1,000 for emergencies

Send Money, Pay Later™

Send money to anyone in the US

BFF - Better Financial Feed

Ger personalized financial insights

Credit Monitoring

Monitor and grow credit score

Cash back

Get up to 20% on everyday spends


Save up to 40% on car insurance

Job-Loss & Disability Protection

Get up to $1,000 for loss of income

Identity Theft Insurance

Insure up to $1 Million

Health Insurance

Coming Soon

File Taxes

File federal and state taxes at low cost

Tax Calculator

Quick estimate of your tax returns

Personal Loan

Get up to $1,000 for emergencies

High Yield Savings

Send money to anyone in the US

Save big on auto insurance - compare quotes now!

Zip Code:
Zip Code: