What is the difference between hard and soft inquiries?

An inquiry refers to a request to look at a consumer’s credit file, and it generally falls into one of two types: a hard inquiry or a soft inquiry. Hard inquiries are typically inquiries by lenders after a consumer applies for credit. These inquiries will impact credit scores because most credit scoring models look at how recently and how frequently a consumer has applied for credit. Whereas soft inquiries are reviews of a consumer’s credit file, including reviews of existing accounts by lenders, pre-screened offers of credit from lenders, and consumer requests for an annual credit report. These will not change credit scores.

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