MoneyTalk - Soft credit check vs Hard credit check

When you apply for any type of credit, the provider will carry out a credit check, but did you know there are two types of check?

In this month’s MoneyTalk we will explain the differences between the types of credit check and why credit providers use them.

What is a soft credit check?

A soft credit check gives a company an overview of your financial situation and can be used to verify your identity.

A soft credit check usually doesn’t leave a mark on your credit report. Many credit providers offer a soft credit check to see if you may be eligible for one of their products. If you then apply for a loan, the company will perform a hard credit check to get a more in-depth view of your finances.

Landlords or energy providers may also perform a soft credit check on you to get a general overview of your finances before signing a contract.

What is a hard credit check?

A hard credit check gives a more detailed overview of your financial situation. It not only shows companies what credit agreements you have, but how well you have made the repayments. Missed payments, or payments that have gone into arrears will appear on a hard credit check.

A hard credit check will be used if you apply for loans, credit cards or car finance. Every time a hard credit check is performed, it leaves a mark on your credit file.

Too many hard credit checks in a short space of time, can put companies of lending to you. It’s always good to use an eligibility checker to see if you are going to be accepted before you make any applications.

How do I know which check a company will perform?

Before a company can perform a hard credit check on you, they will need to have your permission. This helps keep you in control of how any searches are performed so it doesn’t impact negatively on your credit report.

A hard credit check will remain on your credit file for 12 months and you’ll be able to see who has accessed it.

Unlike a hard credit check, only you will be able to see when you have performed a soft credit check.

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