Understanding your energy usage
Take control of your credit score with Credit Monitor
A credit search, or credit check, is when a company looks at information on your credit report to learn more about your financial behaviour.
There are two types of credit search:
A soft search is a check on your credit record that is not visible to other lenders. This means soft searches have no impact on your credit score or any future credit applications you might make.
You will be able to see any soft searches that have been carried out when you check your own credit report. Soft searches will remain on your credit record for 12 months.
A company may carry out a soft search on your credit report to:
A soft search will also be recorded when you check your own credit record.
Soft searches are sometimes known as “quotation searches” or “smart searches”.
Some lenders, brokers and comparison sites – including MoneySuperMarket - offer smart search tools to help you check your eligibility before you apply for a credit card or loan. MoneySuperMarket’s Eligibility Checker will ask you to enter a few details, such as your name, date of birth, address and employment details.
This information is then used to carry out a soft search on your credit record. The search results subsequently presented to you will show you how likely you are to be accepted for each credit card or loan.
A soft search lets you check what credit deals you’re most eligible for without affecting your credit score. This can stop you applying for the wrong products, being rejected and harming your credit record.
There’s no limit to how many soft checks you can make and they won’t affect your credit score, even if you have lots of searches close together.
A hard search is a check on your credit record that is visible to other lenders. This means it could have an impact on your credit score and future applications for credit that you make.
A company should ask your permission before carrying out a hard search on your credit report.
A company may carry out a hard search on your credit report when:
The more credit applications you make, the more hard checks will appear on your credit report.
This will have an effect on your credit score and affect the likelihood of you getting credit in the future.
Lots of credit applications in a short space of time may make companies think you’re in financial trouble, that you rely too much on borrowing, or that you’re a high risk customer.
Most hard searches stay on your credit report for 12 months.
When a hard search is made on your credit report, the following information is recorded and shown on your file:
This information on a hard search can help you monitor your credit file and be alert to any credit searches you didn’t give permission for – this can be a useful fraud prevention measure.
This isn’t true. There is no universal list of people who won’t be accepted for credit. Every lender has its own criteria and their own reasons for rejecting or accepting applications.
This isn’t right. Checking your own credit score results in a soft search – this can’t be seen by lenders and won’t affect future credit applications.
This is incorrect. Credit reference agencies hold information on your financial past – but they don’t make lending decisions. Lenders use the information provided by credit reference agencies to make their decision.
This has an element of truth. Lenders like stability so if you keep moving house they won’t view you as favourably as if you stayed put at the same address. But addresses aren’t blacklisted, the same way that people aren’t blacklisted.
This isn’t true. Your flatmates or partner won’t affect your credit score if you keep your finances totally separate. However, if you have joint financial products, such as a mortgage or current account, there will be a “financial association” and their score will affect your score.
|Soft search||Hard search|
|You can see it on your own credit report||
|Lenders and organisations can see it on your credit report|
|It is recorded when you check your own credit report|
|It is recorded when an identity check is carried out|
|It is recorded when you apply for credit|
|It is recorded when you apply for a utility contract|
|It will stay on your credit record for 12 months|
Everything you need to know about the wonderful world of car insurance.
Our guide will help you protect your property and possessions.
Discover how to bring down the cost of a major household bill.
Our definitive guide to choosing the right credit card.
Find out how to choose the right life insurance for your needs.
What to consider when picking a current account.
See how travel insurance can help protect your holiday.
Understand the difference between secured and unsecured loans