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Will checking my own credit report through Experian lower my score?
Requesting a copy of your own credit report will not affect your credit scores. An inquiry will be added to your report as a record that you requested it, but you are the only one who will be able to see it.
This type of inquiry is called a soft inquiry because it is shown only to you, with a couple of exceptions:
- Insurance companies may be able to see soft inquiries from other insurance companies.
- Inquiries by debt settlement companies you have authorized to access your report may be shared with your creditors.
Soft Inquiries Do Not Hurt Credit Scores
These inquiries have no effect on your credit score because they are never considered as a factor in credit scoring models. They do show up on your credit report, but only for reference. Soft inquiries are not disputable. You can check your own credit report as often as you like without worry that it will affect your credit scores.
Other soft inquiries include those for insurance or employment purposes, those used to prescreen consumers for offers of credit, and inquiries made by your existing creditors, which is sometimes called an account review.
What Is a Hard Inquiry?
Inquiries shown to lenders, also called hard inquiries, appear on your credit report when you apply for credit or other debt services. They are included on your report because they represent potential new debt that doesn't yet appear on your credit report as an account. That unknown debt represents potential risk to lenders.
Additionally, lenders may interpret multiple applications for new credit within a short period of time as a sign that you are having financial difficulties. Lenders want to be sure you are not in danger of overextending yourself before they agree to extend additional credit.
So, hard inquiries can affect lending decisions and credit scores, but the impact is typically small and short-lived. It's still wise to shop around to make sure you get the best terms on your new credit. The overall impact of a hard inquiry on your credit scores depends on your unique credit history, but it will always be small in comparison to other negative issues such as late payments or very high balances.
Thanks for asking.
Jennifer White, Consumer Education Specialist