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What is a soft credit inquiry?

What is a soft credit inquiry and how does it differ from a hard credit inquiry?

A soft credit inquiry or 'soft pull' is used when a consumer checks their own credit or when a lender checks a consumer's credit to pre-qualify them for an offer.  

A hard inquiry, on the other hand, is used when a lender pulls a customer's credit as part of the decision-making process when determining if they are willing to extend credit to the consumer.  

Soft credit inquiries are only visible to the consumer when accessing their own credit report.  Lenders will not be able to see soft inquiries on a consumer credit report and soft inquiries are never used as factors in credit scores. 

When using our Database Monitoring or SoftPull technology a lender is accessing the consumer's credit as a soft inquiry for the purpose of extending an offer of credit.  The soft credit report is not used in the pre-approval process or decision for an extension of credit.