Soft credit checks explained

What is a soft credit search?

A soft credit search, or check, is when you view your credit report yourself to check your credit score or to see what credit you are eligible for without actually applying. This type of credit search leaves no trace on your report and does not affect your credit score. See how a soft credit check compares to a hard credit check.

If a company looks at your credit report for identification purposes, this also counts as a ‘soft’ check as they have not delved into the detail of your financial history. A prospective employer or landlord might do this sort of credit check to make sure you are who you say you are.

Why are soft credit checks useful?

Soft credit checks allow you to see your credit score at any given time and find out if you are eligible for a credit application. This can come in handy when applying for a credit card, a loan, or a mortgage.

What does a soft credit check show?

A soft credit check shows you or an interested company a brief overview of your credit history, including:

  • Personal details like your name, home address and date of birth
  • Any credit you currently have, such as bank accounts, loans, credit card accounts, and debts
  • Payment history, showing any missed or late payments
  • Details of anyone you’re financially linked to, such as a spouse
  • Any public records from the past six years on issues such as bankruptcies and house repossessions

This might sound like a lot of information, however it’s really just a snapshot when compared to a hard credit check, which goes far more in-depth into your financial history.

Do soft credit checks affect credit?

Unlike hard credit checks, soft credit checks aren’t visible to companies, so have no effect on your credit score or any future credit applications. You can also do as many of them as you like, whenever you like, and rest assured your credit score won’t be affected as a result.

Find out more about the credit cards M&S Bank offer.