What’s The Difference Between Soft and Hard Search?
A credit check or credit search is where a company looks at your credit report to view your financial history. They may use this information to understand how reliable you are at borrowing and repaying money.
Your credit report contains information such as
- Your name and address
- Your borrowing history
- Your financial history
- Your credit applications
- Details of whom you are financially linked to
If you’re looking to apply for finance, you will be the subject of two types of searches – a soft and hard search. What is a soft and hard search?
What is a soft check?
Soft checks are partial views on your credit report. This happens if you want to look at your own credit report or when lenders check to see if you’re eligible for certain products and interest rates.
A soft check doesn’t leave a visible footprint on your credit report, but it is recorded. This means no other lender can view who has seen your profile. Additionally, a soft search doesn’t impact your credit score – but you may see who has checked your credit history.
If you view your own credit report, it will appear as a soft search. You may find in certain industries, employers will ask to view your credit report if you have recently applied for a job with them. However, this will only appear as a soft search.
What is a hard check?
If you’ve made applications for finance such as a mortgage, credit card, or other types of loans, the lender will do an in-depth check of your credit report. Unlike the soft search, a hard check will leave a visible hard footprint on your credit report, and other lenders will be able to see them.
Any negative points on your credit report, such as a missed payment or a debt collection, may stay on your credit report for a number of months or years depending on the circumstances and severity of the situation.
What’s the difference between soft and hard search?
The biggest difference is a soft search doesn’t leave a trace for other lenders to view, while a hard search does. Additionally, the hard search will stay on your credit report for up to a year or two, however, multiple hard searches will negatively impact your credit score.
Keep in mind, lenders will be able to check if you have been successful in any credit applications you’ve had in recent years. If you also apply for too many loan or credit applications, this will demonstrate to lenders that you are struggling financially or irresponsible with money management.