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Does Checking Your Credit Score Really Affect Your Credit?

Published February 10, 2014

Does your credit take a hit whenever you check your credit score? This is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about their credit, and it may be one of the main reasons why people are so “out of the loop” when it comes to their credit scores.

Here’s the answer: Although certain credit checks can affect your credit score, checking your own credit doesn’t. That’s right! Though some people may tell you otherwise, pulling your own credit score does not affect your credit. Here’s why:

How the Myth Got Started

The myth that checking your credit score can affect it probably got started when people realized that business or lender credit inquiries do have an impact on their credit scores. This is why every time you apply for a new credit card or loan, your credit score takes a temporary hit, as lenders will run a credit report before evaluating your credit worthiness. This may also be the case if you are being considered for a job. However, consumer credit inquires and business/lender inquiries are two entirely different things.

Soft Inquiry vs. Hard Inquiry

When you check your credit score, it’s known as a “soft inquiry”, which does not affect it. Background checks and employment credit checks are known as soft inquiries. These types of consumer credit inquiries don’t show up on your credit report.

However, when businesses, lenders or credit card issuers check your credit it’s known as a “hard inquiry” and does have an effect on your credit score. Because these inquires actually do affect your credit score, it’s a good rule of thumb to keep them to a minimum. It’s important to note that most hard inquiries often disappear after a few months, so there’s no need to worry about permanent damage. Also keep in mind that most hard inquiries have to be authorized by you, so there should be no discretion when one takes place.

How Business and Lender Reports Affect Your Credit Score

Maintaining good credit is about more than just paying your bills on time; you also have to behave in such a way that doesn’t seem suspicious. Rapidly applying for many different credit cards may be a red flag for credit scoring agencies, as it could indicate that you may have a hard time keeping up with your current credit cards.

So, now that you know the truth about your credit score, start taking advantage of your free credit reports. Keep tabs on your credit, and make sure your score is accurate.

Looking for more information on credit management? Visit CreditGUARD’s credit management page to learn more about how you can improve your credit.

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