Credit Checks: What Is A Soft Search?

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Credit Checks: What Is A Soft Search?

Following on from our previous post about what things to look out for on your credit file, we are now going to explain what is a soft search, why they appear on your file and more.

What is a Soft Search?

An initial look at certain information on your credit file is called a SOFT SEARCH– companies tend to undertake soft searches when looking at your application to help them decide how successful your application would be, without competing a full Hard Search.

The part that sets soft and hard apart is that soft searches are not visible to companies and therefore they have NO impact on your credit score or future applications. You are able to see these soft searches if you look at your report, but no one else.

Examples of Soft Searches

Some examples of when a Soft Search may happen include:

  • When your credit score and file is updated each month via Experian and others
  • An identity check is carried out on your credit report, via an initial application or a comparison site, such as Compare the Market
  • You check your own credit score and eligibility via a credit site

Soft Searches – Are They Helpful?

As a soft check leaves no trace, they are helpful when looking for credit and when you want to see what is available to people like you with a similar score, without and prior to applying. Unlike hard searches, if you have lots close together, they will not impact your score and will only be visible to you.

What about failing Soft Searches?
As above, these checks are only visible to you and therefore you can’t fail them – you are not actually applying for any credit, just looking at your eligibility and your options, and these soft searches will not influence a lender’s decision. Instead, as these soft checks can help you to see your eligibility and status, they are more likely to show you whether you have a better chance of being approved – or not – and therefore help you make a decision before applying for credit and having a hard search added to your file.

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