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Does Checking My Credit Score Hurt My Credit?

Does Checking My Credit Score Hurt My Credit

Contrary to popular belief, checking your own credit score doesn’t hurt your credit. Unlike credit-damaging “hard” inquiries that occur when you apply for credit, checking your own credit report is considered a “soft” inquiry and has no impact on your credit report or your credit score. In fact, the only person that actually ever sees a soft inquiry is you — when you access your own credit report.

Credit inquiries are one of a number of factors that are used in determining your credit score, accounting for 10% of the overall score calculation. Essentially, the more credit inquiries you have in a short period of time, the larger the impact to your credit score — but it’s the type of inquiry that matters here.

There are two different types of credit inquiries — a hard inquiry, which occurs whenever you apply for credit; and a soft inquiry, which occurs whenever you access your own credit report, or an institution pulls a preapproval or promotional inquiry to pre-qualify you for a marketing offer. Only one has a negative impact on your credit score, and it’s the hard inquiry.

Whenever you apply for credit, whether it’s a for credit card, an auto loan, a mortgage or any other type of credit, the lender will pull your credit report and score as part of the application process. This application process helps the lender determine whether it will approve the loan and at what interest rate and terms. Each time you apply for credit and a lender pulls your credit, a “hard” inquiry will be reported in your credit report, indicating that you’ve actively applied for new credit. Hard inquiries can lower your credit score.

Now that you know that checking your own credit score won’t hurt your credit, you can check your own credit score as often as you like. In fact, you can check your credit score for free by signing up for’s free Credit Report Card to see where you stand.

  • Joey B.

    use to check your credit. That is who most consumer advocates recommend you use.

    • vucja

      thanks Joey.

  • vucja

    This sounds like a no-win situation. Check your own credit score to see how you rate, but when you actually for credit, you get whacked. What a deal.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    What credit scoring model is she using to check her credit scores? More recent FICO models VantageScore models would not penalize her for shopping around like that.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Her husband said she was checking her own credit score and it went down. I was trying to find out how she was checking her score, as that might explain the drop in her score. More recent FICO models and VantageScore models don’t penalize scores for auto loan inquiries in a short period of time. I’m sorry if my response wasn’t clearer.

  • Glenn

    Which Credit Score is right? if they are each different seems to me either they have different methods or different information. Surely, there is no need for 3 reports. That just gives one three times the work to challenge a “score” that no one can get right!

    • Gerri Detweiler

      That’s the challenge and the source of confusion. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong one. It depends on which model the lender uses, and there are many different versions.

  • Tarik

    One best advice to all, its from my experiences, Never surrender credit card even it is not being necessary in future. Obviously it will hurt your credit score.

  • prophotoman

    What happened to the law when I was a teenager where use of your social security number was restricted to uses concerning your social security account? I know that at that time credit agencies were not ALLOWED to use your social security info for anything!

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Teleri – I am sorry if I misunderstood his question. I truly am trying to help and not trying to blame the victim here. I know these auto inquiries can be a problem, but it’s hard for me to advise or comment if I don’t have the full information. I’d love to get to the bottom of one of these scenarios if i can find someone who has their credit reports and scores from before and after the auto shopping. Without that anything I say would be speculation. Again, apologies if I read it the wrong way. We respond to dozens of questions on the blog every day and sometimes they can blur together!

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Did you have any higher balances reported on credit cards in that period of time? It’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on and why it dropped but that could definitely do it.

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