Hard Inquiries vs. Soft Inquiries
The essential difference between a hard inquiry and a soft inquiry is whether or not you gave the lender permission to check your credit report.
Generally speaking, if you let a lender scrutinize your credit report, it’s a hard inquiry. If a lender or bank peers into your credit report without your knowledge or permission, it’s a soft inquiry.
As far as your credit score is concerned, soft inquiries are harmless and will mostly go unnoticed. Hard inquiries, however, can leave a mark on your credit report, especially for anyone rapidly applying for credit in a short time span.
Common hard inquiries
Auto loan applications
Credit card applications
Student loan applications
Personal loan applications
Apartment rental applications
Common soft inquiries
Checking your credit score on Credit Karma
“Prequalified” credit card offers
“Prequalified” insurance quotes
Employment verification (i.e., background check)