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How can I tell the difference between a hard and a soft inquiry?

New Visitor

How can I tell the difference between a hard and a soft inquiry?

Also, is a collection company allowed to make an inquiry without my consent? I received an alert today from my fico that a collection agency made an inquiry on my credit. It dropped my score 10 points :/. This is what it looks like (I'm mobile)::

1 new inquiry was added to your credit report
SHARP JACKSON COLL SERV Inquiry date: 4/19/2013
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All that is listed in the details is their name and address. I do owe a debt to this company but I have been working with them so I don't understand why they would pull my credit. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated. I'm trying to fix my credit and am very new to this stuff!
Message 1 of 4
Moderator Emeritus

Re: How can I tell the difference between a hard and a soft inquiry?

All alerts and all viewable inquiries from myFICO are hard pulls. The only place you can view softs are directly from equifax.


SW alerts only provide a net score change and those 10 points may not be directly linked to that inquiry. For example, I once got a SW alert for +20 because I added an inquiry. Inquiries don't increase your FICO but it was a dropped baddie that led to the net increase when I received the alert for my inquiry. In other words, some (if not all) of the loss could be linked to the inquiry, but other things could be happening like increased balances or other changes.


With that said, I would take steps to get it removed. They are allowed to report. If you are working with them I'd send a letter asking them to delete the iqnuiry (and of course delete the TL if they are reporting).

Message 2 of 4
New Visitor

Re: How can I tell the difference between a hard and a soft inquiry?

There have been no other increases or changes, nothing else new on my report. No late payments, nothing like that.
I knew they could report on my credit, I just was not aware that anyone could make a credit inquiry without my permission.
Message 3 of 4
Community Leader
Legendary Contributor

Re: How can I tell the difference between a hard and a soft inquiry?

The FCRA is structured with the express purpose of permitting credit inquiries without prior express permission of the consumer.


That is the purpose of section 604.  It defines those types of inquiries for which a party who has a permissible purpose can request the consumer's credit report without prior express permission from the consumer.  The "permission," if you wll, is inherent in the consumer's relationship with that party.


Otherwise, credit and business transactions would come to a crawl.


A so-called soft pull is one which is not viewable by others who pull your CR.  That includes pulls for FICO scoring, and thus they dont count in your scoring.

The only type of permissible purpose that is specifically excluded by statute  from view by others are inquiiries related to unsolicted offers of credit or insurance, and the inqiree may receive only the consumer's name and address.


Coding of other types of permissible purposes in a way that blocks their appearance in credit reports viewable by others is strictly an administrative conconction of the CRAs, for which there are no published rules or procedures.  Some are widely recognized and consistently applied, such as a consumer's pull of their own CR or a pull by an existing creditor that relates only to their own internal account review.  Others seem to have no rhyme or reason, such as a consumer initiated request for new credit that the creditor somehow is able to obtain coding as a soft pull.




Message 4 of 4