Despite scouring various sites & google, I have yet to find a thorough explanation for "soft pull". They all state is has no effect on scores compared to a hard inquiry BUT, they don't explain exactly what info is provided when a "soft" is initiated.
Do they see your entire report, portions, scores? What are the exact details?
A so-called soft inquiry is one that shows only in credit reports available to the consumer, and not others.
That includes those who do credit scoring, and thus they do not count in credit scoring.
Hard pulls are those that can appeat in credit reports available to others.
Why the need for such a distinction? One is statutory, others are simply administrative.
There is one type of credit inquiry that is explicitiy barred from showing in credit reports made available to others. That is the so-called promotional inquiries.
Thus, there must be a coding to prevent them from inclusion.
Administrative use of soft inquires has been implemented to prevent certain inquiries that are clearly unrealted to scoring from being included in reports that are scored, such as when a consumer pulls their own report, or a creditor does an internal account review unrelated to a consumer initiated request for credit.
Theoretically, a commercial credit report pulled only by the consumer could include soft pulls, but most do not, as that would involve creation of two different types of reports, and they dont take that time or effort.
However, the reports obtained via annualcreditreport.com are available only to the consumer,and are intended to specifically meet the obligation to provide one free credit report to each consumer every 12 months, so they are specifically designed to include soft pulls.
There is a deep and mysterious procedure, unpublished to my knowledge, that permits creditors to get what would normally be a hard pull coded as soft.
All consumer initiated requests for credit, for example, qualify as hard inquiries. Somewhere along the way, someone decided that creditors could selectively and arbitrarily hide such inquires by getting them coded as soft. Is there, for example, a CRA code that reads "Cosumer initiated request for credit, but hide from credit reports available to others"?
Although it all still seems mysterious to me, I appreciate the info.
If only there was a better, more streamlined method of requesting and deleting errors!
AND when errors are ignored or deliberately allowed to persist, accountability should be punishable