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 Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card to see where you stand.