FAQ Will pulling my own credit score lower it?
Pulling Your Credit Score Yourself is Harmless
Pulling your credit score yourself is called a “soft” inquiry. Pulling your credit score yourself as often as you like has no effect on your credit score whatsoever. Another example of a soft inquiry is the inquiry of a lender who sends you an unsolicited offer for a credit card. You can opt out of these credit card offers if you find them annoying. They do not have any effect on your credit score because you didn’t give the lender permission to do it. You didn’t apply for a loan. Other examples of soft inquiries include credit scores pulled to be examined by potential employers or landlords. If you haven’t applied for a loan you haven’t got a hard inquiry.
Hard Pulls do Affect your credit score
A hard inquiry is when a lender pulls your report after you have applied for a loan. FICO says on its web site that ” A single hard inquiry has little to no effect on the average credit score.” A second inquiry will cost you a few points with the credit reporting agency where it’s made. Of more concern is the lowering of the average age of your accounts if your new line of credit is granted. This is because the lowered average age stays with you long after the effect of the inquiry is purged. The record of the inquiry will stay on your report for 2 years but it only affects your score for 1 year. It’s impact on your score does not dilute as the year goes along.
An exception to this is made if there are a series of inquiries for comparison purpose for the same mortgage or car loan for instance within a 45 day period. This series of inquiries will be counted as just 1 inquiry. Each industry has a coded category with the credit bureaus. Your initial inquiries for auto or home loans but not for credit cards are held in a “safe Harbor” for the initial month. Technically the inquiries of this nature only affect your score for 11 months because of this practice. This allows consumers to comparison shop for larger loans without being unfairly penalized. Pulling your credit score yourself before applying for any loan is always a good practice for a reality check.
More about Inquiries
Most credit professionals feel that consumers obsess too much about inquiries. Inquiries comprise a relatively small 10 percent of your entire score. This is not to say not to be concerned about their effect. There are probably other areas of your credit score that are more worth your time to work on. A year tends to go by rather quickly anyway. Pulling your credit score yourself helps to guard against negative entries getting on your reports undetected.