Home Credit score How Credit Applications Affect Your Credit Score – Forbes Advisor

How Credit Applications Affect Your Credit Score – Forbes Advisor


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Whether you’re trying to improve your credit score or preparing to apply for credit, knowing how credit applications can impact your credit is essential. Most credit checks have a relatively small impact on your credit score (if any), but if you’re not careful, your score can run into pitfalls.

Here’s everything you need to know about how they work.

What is a credit check?

Anytime someone checks your credit report, including yourself, lenders, banks, or even homeowners, it gets recorded on your report as a soft or hard credit check.

Each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) tracks inquiries on your report because it can say a lot about your risk to lenders. While lenders aren’t too worried about indirect inquiries because it doesn’t impact your credit score, they are cautious about difficult inquiries. In the eyes of the lender, multiple inquiries may indicate that you are taking on more credit than you can afford.

For example, according to FICO, “people with at least six inquiries on their credit reports can be up to eight times more likely to file for bankruptcy.”

Difficult against. Flexible credit check

There are two types of credit checks: firm credit checks and soft credit checks, also known as hard and soft credit checks. Here’s how they differ.

Harsh credit inquiries

Serious credit checks are usually the things you need to worry about in order to affect your credit score. These requests indicate that you are asking for new debt, such as a mortgage, personal loan, or credit card, and are visible to anyone who checks your credit report. Other circumstances may also require a thorough investigation, such as:

  • Apply for certain jobs
  • Establishment of new public services
  • Apply for new insurance
  • Complete a background check
  • Request a credit line increase
  • Using a debit card to pay for a car rental
  • Request to rent a new apartment or house

Flexible credit inquiries

Flexible credit applications, on the other hand, have no impact on your credit. They happen every time you check your credit report or get a free credit score update. Indirect inquiries are also recorded when companies preemptively withdraw your credit for pre-approval offers for new credit cards and financial products. Unlike inquiries, inquiries are only visible to you and not to others who may be verifying your report.

How many points does a serious investigation affect your credit score?

In general, serious inquiries don’t have as much of an impact on your credit score as other credit factors. Credit checks are only responsible for 10% of your credit score, while your payment history is 35% of your score.

For most people, according to FICO, a new, firm credit check will only drop your credit score between one and five points. While a serious investigation stays on your credit report for two years, it only impacts your score for one year.

It’s important to note that these inquiries can stack up. For example, if you get a new mobile phone and a new service plan in January, then apply for a new credit card in February, your credit score may be hit more than five points due to multiple inquiries.

However, there is a way around the sheer number of difficult inquiries if you are looking for a rate for a loan or mortgage. Here’s how.

What about purchasing fares?

You can usually check your interest rate with a lender without a credit check through a screening process. Once you have prequalified and chosen a lender, they will perform a thorough credit check.

However, not all lenders offer pre-screening and you may face rigorous credit checks when purchasing rates for certain products. For example, if you’re shopping around for mortgage pre-approvals, lenders will likely do a credit check up front.

In these cases, there is always good news. If you complete all of your rate purchases for mortgages, student loans, or auto loans within a short period of time, this will be recorded as one credit check on your report, although multiple lenders may have performed a credit check. credit.

The amount of time you have to complete your fare purchases varies. FICO offers many different credit scoring models that lenders can request. For some of these models your pricing period is 14 days, while for others it is 45 days. Plan to do all of your fare purchases in the same two week period if you can to be on the safe side.

Credit inquiries after prior approvals

If you’re pre-approved for a mortgage or loan, it may take some time before you actually find the home or car you want to buy.

When you received your pre-approval letter, it was based on your current credit score and your financial situation. If things change, for example if you apply for a new credit card or utility in the meantime, it could delay the loan closing as your report may reflect new inquiries that were not present at the time of the loan. pre-approval.

Since adding new inquiries to your report after you have been pre-approved can cause problems when it comes to receiving your funding, it is best to avoid credit inquiries until after you have been pre-approved. ‘afterwards. For example, avoid credit checks until you’ve finished buying your new home or car.

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Experian can help you increase your FICO® score based on paying bills like your phone, utilities, and popular streaming services. Results may vary. See the site for more details.


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