What Is the Difference Between Hard and Soft Inquiries?

The primary difference between a hard and soft inquiry on your credit report is who is requesting it. When you check your own credit, it shows up as a soft inquiry. 

Soft inquiries do not negatively impact your credit report in any way, even though the credit bureaus keep records of these soft hits just like they do hard hits.

Hard inquiries are another story. They represent an application for credit or a credit increase that you have initiated. One or more hard hits mean that you will probably be increasing your available credit or debt in the near future. Too many of these hard inquiries at one time together will cause you to lose points in the new credit component (representing 10 percent of your credit score).

You could see your score drop several points if you have too many of these at once. The easy solution is to spread out any new credit requests over time (at least from three to six months apart if you can manage it).

What Public Records Show Up On Your Credit Report?

In evidence that the credit reporting bureaus occasionally do something to provide relief to consumers, they enacted a sweeping change to the public records section of your credit reports in 2017 and 2018. They dropped all public records except for bankruptcies from all consumer credit reports over those two years. From then on, no more liens or judgments of any kind (court, private, or tax liens or judgments) will appear on your credit reports or influence your credit score. 

Bankruptcies remain on your credit report for from seven to 10 years, depending on the type of bankruptcy that you file (Chapter 7 bankruptcies need 10 years to drop). 

In the next article, we will look at understanding each of the items in your credit report in more detail. This can make a significant damage in the actions you take to positively (rather than negatively) influence your ultimate personal credit score.

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