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Here Is How Soft Credit Check Works

Soft credit checks are essential when it comes to decision-making, especially when accessing financing with no impact on your bureau profile.

Credit checks are fundamental components of financial transactions like buy now pay later, providing crucial insights into an individual’s creditworthiness.

Among these assessments, a soft credit check also referred to as a soft inquiry or soft pull, stands out as a less invasive examination of a person’s credit report.

What is a Soft Credit Check?

A soft credit check involves the review of an individual’s credit report without the intention of affecting their credit score.


This is usually utilized by many of the buy now pay later services with no impact to your credit score hence, making it a better alternative to access financing if you have a bad bureau profile.

Unlike hard credit inquiries, which are typically associated with credit applications such as loans or credit cards, soft inquiries are conducted for informational or pre-approval purposes.

Soft credit checks may be initiated without the explicit consent of the individual and are often performed by entities seeking to assess creditworthiness for purposes other than extending credit.


Purpose of a Soft Credit Check


There are several purposes soft credit checks are performed and the below explain some of the reasons why and where this is required:


Pre-Approval Processes

Soft credit checks are commonly employed in pre-approval processes by lenders and buy now pay later services including loan providers like those provided by Uplift for air ticket financing.

This allows them to assess an individual’s eligibility for specific financial products without impacting their credit score.


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Employment Background Checks

In certain industries, employers use soft credit checks as part of background checks for employment purposes.

This practice is more prevalent in positions that involve financial responsibilities or access to sensitive information.


Insurance Quotes

When individuals request insurance quotes, insurers may perform soft credit checks to evaluate risk and determine appropriate premium rates.

This assists insurers in tailoring insurance offerings based on an individual’s financial history.


Promotional Offers

Credit card companies and financial institutions may initiate soft credit checks to assess whether individuals qualify for promotional offers, such as lower interest rates, waived fees, or increased credit limits.


Personal Finance Monitoring

Individuals themselves or credit monitoring services may perform soft credit checks for routine financial monitoring.

This proactive approach allows individuals to stay informed about their credit status without negatively impacting their credit scores.

Does A Soft Credit Check Affect Your Credit Score?

This soft credit inquiry does not affect your credit score as they are conducted to determine your creditworthiness without it being visible on your bureau record to any organization.


One of the primary advantages of soft credit checks is that they do not influence an individual’s credit score.

The distinction between soft and hard inquiries lies in their purpose and effect on creditworthiness.

Given that soft inquiries are not associated with credit applications, they are considered neutral and do not contribute to fluctuations in credit scores.

Credit scoring models recognize the importance of allowing individuals to monitor their credit reports and engage in informational activities without facing penalties.

Therefore, soft credit checks are excluded from the calculation of credit scores, ensuring that responsible financial behavior, such as checking one’s credit report, does not have negative repercussions.

Common Scenarios of Soft Credit Inquiry


Below are scenarios where you might need to undergo a soft credit inquiry:


Credit Card Pre-Approval

Individuals often receive pre-approved credit card offers that involve a preliminary soft credit inquiry. For instance, a soft credit pull is needed before you can continue with the approval process for an Amazon Prime Visa.

Before extending a formal offer, credit card issuers perform these checks to assess an individual’s creditworthiness.


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Employment Screening

Employers, particularly in finance-related industries, may conduct soft credit pulls as part of the hiring process.

This practice helps employers assess the financial responsibility and integrity of potential employees.


Lease and Rental Applications

Lease service providers like Acima, landlords, or property management companies frequently perform soft credit inquiries as part of the rental application process.

This allows them to evaluate a prospective customer’s financial stability and reliability in meeting rental obligations.


Insurance Quotes

Seeking insurance quotes often involves soft credit pulls by insurers.

This practice helps insurers tailor insurance offerings based on an individual’s risk profile, ensuring that premium rates align with the perceived level of risk.


Personal Credit Monitoring

Individuals who actively monitor their credit reports or use credit monitoring services engage in soft credit inquiries regularly.

This self-initiated practice empowers individuals to stay informed about changes in their credit status.

Significance in Various Financial Transactions


Below are some of the significance of soft credit inquiries:


Preserving Credit Score Integrity

Soft credit checks play a pivotal role in preserving the accuracy of credit scores.

By allowing individuals to explore financial options without repercussions, they encourage responsible credit management.

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Streamlining Pre-Approval Processes

For lenders, buy now pay later, and credit card issuers, soft credit checks streamline the pre-approval process by providing insights into an individual’s creditworthiness without the need for a formal application.

This expedites the decision-making process and enhances the overall efficiency of credit evaluations.


Facilitating Employment Decisions

In employment scenarios, soft credit checks can assist employers in making informed decisions.

For positions involving financial responsibilities, this practice helps employers evaluate an individual’s financial responsibility and trustworthiness.


Enhancing Rental Assessments

Lease services and landlords benefit significantly from soft credit pulls during rental assessments.

This tool allows them to assess the financial stability of prospective tenants without adversely impacting their credit scores.


Enabling Personal Financial Planning

Soft credit checks empower individuals to engage in personal financial planning.

By allowing routine credit monitoring without negatively affecting credit scores, individuals can make informed decisions about their financial health and take proactive steps to improve or maintain their creditworthiness.

Industries that Use Soft Credit Inquiry


Below are some of the well-known industries that use soft credit checks for decision-making:


Financial Services

In the financial services sector, soft credit checks are integral to various processes.

Mortgage lenders, for instance, may conduct soft inquiries during pre-qualification assessments to provide potential borrowers with an estimate of their eligibility.

This enables individuals to explore mortgage options without affecting their credit scores.


Read more


Soft credit checks are prevalent in industries where financial responsibility is a crucial aspect of job roles.

Banking, finance, and positions that involve handling sensitive financial information often include soft credit inquiry as part of the employment screening process.

Employers use this information to gauge an individual’s financial integrity and trustworthiness.



The insurance industry relies on soft credit checks to determine premium rates and assess risk.

When individuals seek insurance quotes, insurers use soft inquiries to evaluate an individual’s credit history and tailor insurance offerings accordingly.

This practice helps ensure that premium rates accurately reflect the perceived risk associated with the policyholder.


Real Estate

Soft credit checks are routine in the real estate industry, particularly during the tenant screening process.

Landlords and property management companies use soft inquiries to evaluate the financial stability of prospective tenants without negatively impacting their credit scores.

This aids in selecting tenants who are likely to fulfill their rental obligations.


Personal Finance

Individuals increasingly utilize soft credit checks for personal finance management.

Access to credit monitoring services allows individuals to regularly check their credit reports without affecting their credit scores.

This self-initiated practice promotes financial awareness and helps individuals make informed decisions about their credit health.

Challenges and Considerations


While soft credit checks offer numerous advantages, there are some challenges and considerations to be aware of:


Limited Information

Soft credit checks provide a limited view of an individual’s credit history.

While they offer insights into recent credit activities, they may not capture the entire credit picture.


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Consent Issues

In some cases, individuals may be subject to soft credit checks without explicit consent.

While this is common in certain scenarios, such as pre-approval processes, individuals should be aware of how and when soft inquiries are conducted.


Industry Variability

The use of soft credit checks varies across industries.

While they are standard in certain sectors like finance and real estate, other industries may not routinely utilize them.

Individuals should be aware of the practices specific to the industry they are dealing with.


Scoring Model Differences

Different credit scoring models may treat soft inquiries differently.

While most models exclude them from the calculation of credit scores, individuals should be aware of the specifics of the scoring model used by the entity conducting the credit check.

There are different secondary credit data providers owned by the major bureaus like FactorTrust owned by TransUnion and the Experian-owned Clarity Services that facilitate soft credit checks with varying scoring models.


Soft credit checks serve as a valuable tool in various financial scenarios, offering individuals the flexibility to explore credit options and allowing businesses to assess creditworthiness without causing undue harm to credit scores.

Its role in pre-approval processes, employment screenings, rental applications, insurance quotes, and personal credit monitoring contributes to a more transparent and informed credit landscape.

Understanding the distinction between soft and hard credit checks is pivotal for individuals navigating financial decisions and underscores the importance of maintaining the integrity of credit scoring systems.

As financial landscapes continue to evolve, the role of soft credit checks will likely remain essential in facilitating responsible credit management and informed decision-making.


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