Does Checking Your Own Credit Score Lower It?
Key points about: checking credit scores
Hard inquiries, which occur when you apply for new credit, can affect your credit score.
Checking your own credit score or credit report does not affect your credit score, because it’s not a hard inquiry.
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 common misconception that checking your own credit score will impact it. Don’t worry, it won’t. But other inquiries can. It’s important to understand which kinds of 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 will not affect your credit score.
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.
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. Especially if you’re learning how to build good credit, you can check your credit score to make sure you’re on the right path.
How to check your credit report
According to federal law, anyone can access their free credit report from the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—once every 12 months. A separate temporary provision also allows anyone to check their credit report once per week for free through December 2023.
You can access your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. Discover cardmembers can also use Discover Credit Scorecard to check their credit score for free at any time.
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.
Specifically, a hard credit inquiry might occur when you apply for a:
- Credit card
- 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.1 Your credit score can also be impacted by other factors, including:
- Late payments
- 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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