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Confusion over hard vs soft pulls when checking your own credit

Confusion over hard vs soft pulls when checking your own credit

It's been a bit over a year since I've purchased my credit report and scores from Equifax and Transunion, through  I've had a secured credit card for about 6 months so I'm curious to see how much, if at all, this has helped.  I've also paid off a collection for an auto loan and want to make sure that is reported correctly.


I'm a little confused because I thought when you ran your credit to get your FICO scores it counted as a 'hard pull', but recently I was reading it only counts as a 'soft pull' as long as you are pulling it yourself.  This is important because I'm always cautious with checking my own credit because I don't want to hurt it any more than it already is.  Is there a difference with checking my own credit through,, or directly with each credit reporting agency?  Does it make a difference if I'm checking to see my FICO scores, or just getting the reports alone?


I'd also be interested to hear any personal recommendations.  As I mentioned, I could get my yearly free reports from, but I am curious to see my scores - although honestly I doubt they will really be that much better than they were before so the scores isn't that important to me.  The last time I checked my FICO was around 550, so at best they might be somewhat less horrible Smiley Indifferent



Starting Score: EQ 689 | TU 663 | EX 680 (1/2016)
Current Score: EQ 735 | TU 663 | EX 680 (2/2016)
Goal Score: EQ 750+ | TU 750+ | EX 750+ (1/2017)
Message 1 of 4
Moderator Emeritus

Re: Confusion over hard vs soft pulls when checking your own credit

Checking your own score will no way affect it.  Some people check theirs everyday!  The only way it would affect is if you have a lender pull it for you. 

Starting Score: 504
July 2013 score:
EQ FICO 819, TU08 778, EX "806 lender pull 07/26/2013
Goal Score: All Scores 760+, Newest goal 800+
Take the myFICO Fitness Challenge

Current scores after adding $81K in CLs and 2 new cars since July 2013
EQ:809 TU 777 EX 790 Now it's just garden time!

June 2017 update: All scores over 820, just pure gardening now.
Message 2 of 4
Established Contributor

Re: Confusion over hard vs soft pulls when checking your own credit

Checking your own credit score is always a soft pull when you pull it yourself. Some credit reports have move information than others. Your Fico reports have more analysis features, annual free credit or a directly pulled personal report from a credit bureau will often show more detail like DOFD and specifically say when a collection or arrears account will fall off or go to a positive status. Just depends on what infor you need. I always suggest a direct pull from a cra agency when trying to find out as much information as possible to see where your foundation/starting point is for improvement.

Starting scores 01/02/2012 EQ 707(Fico) TU 733(Fico)XP 735 (FAKO)
Updated scores 05/01/17 EQ 824, TU 812 EXP 810 (all Fico scores) Remember the Three P's: Pay early in Full, Pay on Time, Patience
Message 3 of 4
Established Contributor

Re: Confusion over hard vs soft pulls when checking your own credit

+1 to the above.  No matter which site you pull from, monitoring your own credit should never harm your credit score.


However, funny story. I used to work for a mortgage collections firm and of course we had the ability to pull credit reports on the borrowers. Well, one of my coworkers decided she would become her own free credit monitoring service and was pulling her own report quite regularly (despite this being an express violation of company policy). She probably viewed it as a nice little perk of working there.


Unfortunately for her, she did not realize she was doing hard pulls every time. Smiley LOL  In the end, she not only lost the job but I'd guess a good-sized chunk of her FICO score as well.


That is pretty much the only way you could ever harm your credit score by checking your own report. Whatever .com service you choose to use online, it will always be a soft pull.

Starting: EQ 622 (myFICO 7/7/12), EX 696 (TU FAKO 8/14/12), TU 621 (CK TransRisk 7/24/12), Total CL $1k on 2 TLs
Current: EQ 709 (CCT 2/4/15), EX 704 (CCT 2/4/15) , TU 702 (CCT 2/4/15), Total CL $110.3k on 14 TLs Goal: 740+ x3
My Wallet: Amex BCP $30k, Chase United Explorer $16k, Amex SPG $13.5k, Barclaycard Ring MC $12.5k, Chase CSP VS $12.2k, Discover it $10.5k, C1 Venture VS $6.5k, Chase Slate $3.5k, Amex Hilton Surpass $2k, Barclaycard Apple V $2k, Chase Freedom V $1100, BoA Cash Rewards V $500, Citi BestBuy $500
My Loans: Prosper $25k/36mo, Prosper $17k/36mo
My Business: Chase Ink VS $5k, Amex BRG NPSL (> 10k),
Message 4 of 4