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Does Checking Your Own Credit Score Lower It?

Last Updated: March 7, 2024
3 min read

Table of contents

Key points about: checking credit scores

  1. Hard inquiries, which occur when you apply for new credit, can affect your credit score.

  2. Checking your own credit score or credit report doesn’t affect your credit score, because it’s not a hard inquiry.

  3. It’s important to check your credit score regularly to make sure the information is accurate.

Checking your own credit score can help you better understand your financial health and chances of being approved for credit. Since your credit score is based on your credit history, it may change frequently. And lenders may check your score to assess the risk of taking you on as a borrower.

There’s a misconception that checking your own credit score will impact it. Don’t worry, it won’t. But other credit inquiries can. It’s important to understand which inquiries will affect your credit score, and how to check your own score, so you can make the right decisions for your financial goals.

Will checking my credit affect my credit score?

No, checking your credit won’t affect your credit score, according to Equifax.

Checking your own credit is considered a soft inquiry. A soft inquiry is a credit check that is done for a reason other than when you’re applying for new credit. A potential employer, for example, might run a credit inquiry as part of a background check. Since you haven’t applied for credit, this counts as a soft inquiry.  Each soft credit inquiry is usually reported to at least one credit bureau, so it may appear in your credit file. However, soft credit checks don’t impact your score.

It’s a good idea to check your own credit score regularly, so you can make sure all the information is accurate. Checking your credit score can also help you gauge your financial health and chances of approval for new credit applications. If you’re learning how to build good credit, you can check your credit score to make sure you’re on the right path.

See if you’re pre-approved

With no harm to your credit score1

How to check your credit report

According to the Federal Trade Commission, a program from the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—allows anyone to access their credit report for free once a week. You can access your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

How to check your credit score without hurting it

Your credit reports don’t always include your credit score; fortunately, you can check your credit score without hurting it using other tools. According to USA.gov, you can find your score on some credit card or loan statements. Each of the credit scoring agencies also provides access to your credit scores. A financial institution or credit card issuer may likewise offer credit score monitoring services. As a Discover cardmember, you’ll  get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score and more2.

What can affect credit scores?

Hard inquiries—as opposed to soft inquiries—can influence your credit score. A hard inquiry is a credit check run by a lender when you apply for a new loan or credit account. New credit applications are reported to the major credit bureaus, so they’re reflected in your credit file.

Specifically, a hard credit inquiry might occur when you apply for a:

  • Credit card
  • Mortgage
  • Rental property
  • Car loan
  • Personal loan

Did you know?

A hard credit inquiry can affect your credit score by a few points—or more if you make multiple hard inquiries within a short period of time.

Hard inquiries are also just one of many factors that can affect your credit score. In fact, hard inquiries account for only 10% of FICO® Scores.3 Your credit score can also be impacted by other factors, including:

  • Inconsistent payment history
  • High credit utilization ratio
  • A short credit history

Now that you know that checking your credit score won’t impact it, and what factors can affect your credit score, learn how to stay on top of your credit score to improve your financial standing.

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