A soft inquiry is a form of credit inquiry. This shows up on a consumer’s credit report. Below are a few things you should know regarding the same.
A credit inquiry is a situation wherein any entity pulls out the credit report of another. The same is resorted to in order to determine the application of a consumer. It is also resorted to in order to determine whether or not to qualify a consumer for a promo, offer, insurance, employment, etc.
Realistically speaking, it is easy to pull out the credit report of a consumer. In fact most of the time, the consumer is unaware that a product or service provider, or even a potential employer has just pulled out his/her credit report. As a general rule any credit inquiry without the express consent of the consumer is considered a soft inquiry.
A hard inquiry is one made with the express consent of the consumer, even if in most cases, the same is unaware that the report will be pulled. This is because some consumers do not read carefully the terms and conditions of whatever it is they are signing or whatever online box they are “clicking” or “entering” or “ok”, etc. As a general rule, hard inquiries have been initiated by the consumer. This is because they applied for something. This can be a credit card, a bank account, a loan, insurance, employment, etc.
This is a case of several hard credit inquiries. This usually happens when a consumer shops around for a loan, insurance, employment, credit cards, etc. The law recognizes the reality that consumers will shop around for a loan. Therefore credit inquiries made by related entities within a short span of time, usually a week or two, is considered 1 hard inquiry. The others are simply not considered like a soft inquiry.
Below are examples of SOFT inquiries:
- Scenario 1
A cable company or other utility companies pull out reports on consumers within their network. The goal is to see which consumers are within their target demographics.
- Scenario 2
A cell phone provider pulls out the credit reports of their existing clients to see which to consider for a promotional offer, an upgrade, prepaid service alerts, etc.
- Scenario 3
A scammer tries to pull out your report in order to see if you are susceptible to identity theft or credit card fraud. Of course the scammer pulls the report under the semblance of a legitimate offer.
- Scenario 4
A credit card company pulls out your credit report to see if you have other credit cards. This will aid them in determining whether or not to offer you a credit card or not.
- Scenario 5
You go to an auto dealership to shop for a car. You made general inquiries, and left your calling card as a courtesy. You did not request pre-approval for a car loan. The representative went ahead and pulled out your reports anyway. This may be because of a mistake or intentional. Regardless, you did not sign anything and did not give authorization for them to look at your credit report.