Credit Scores and Ratings

What your credit score means, when it matters, and how you can improve it.

How Credit Checks Affect Your Credit Score

Answering the question of whether your credit score falls every time someone pulls your credit report or checks your score.Has anyone ever told you that every time someone checks your credit, it lowers your credit score? While there is some truth to this claim, there are some exceptions. The most notable exception is that you can check your own credit report whenever you want and it will never affect your credit score. However, your credit rating is impacted if a lender or credit grantor checks your credit.

Research has shown that people who are actively seeking credit are riskier than people who are not looking for credit. Riskier means that if someone owes more, or could owe more with the credit that they’re applying for, they may have a hard time repaying all of what they owe. The only way that creditors can know that someone is actively looking for credit is if the credit inquiries are listed on their credit report.

To try to identify people who might be a higher risk, and less likely to be able pay back money they borrow, the credit bureaus reduce a person’s credit score if they have a lot of credit inquiries in a short period of time. They do, however, realize that people will often go rate shopping when they are looking at making a major purchase, like a car or a house. If this appears to be the case, the credit bureaus have a way to count all of those inquiries as one, as long as they occur within a few weeks.

The amount that a credit score is lowered depends on a number of factors, including how you use the credit you already have. Most people can apply for credit a few times a year without seeing much of an impact on their credit score.

The bottom line is that if people only apply for credit when they need it and use it responsibly, they should never have a problem.

To learn about more factors that effect your credit score, click here.

To learn all about credit reports, click here to see a government publication.

 

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