Hard vs soft credit inquiry: What you need to know

Soft Inquiry


When you check your own credit report, or give permission to a potential employer or landlord to review your credit report, a soft inquiry occurs. Some credit card companies also perform soft inquiries to pre-qualify customers for a credit card. Because soft inquiries aren't linked to a specific application for new credit, these inquiries have no effect on your credit score. 


Hard Inquiry


If you apply for credit, such as a mortgage, auto loan or credit card, the lender (with your permission) will check your credit report and credit score from one or more of the major credit bureaus. Because the inquiry is tied to an actual credit application, they can affect your credit score.


How much will a hard inquiry affect my credit score?


A single hard inquiry will have only a very minimal effect on your credit score, and the effect will usually be gone within 12 months. Good credit building practices (such as always paying your credit card bills on time and in full) will also quickly offset any effect from the hard inquiry.


Will Jasper run a hard inquiry against my credit when I apply?


It depends. Jasper is a different kind of credit card company that does not require a credit history to apply if you don’t already have one. For example, if you recently relocated to the U.S. for work, you may not have a U.S. credit history—but you can still apply and be approved for a Jasper Mastercard, with no credit check required. However, if you have lived in the U.S. for over a year at the time you apply, a hard credit check will be part of your application review process. If you are a U.S. resident who has limited credit—for example, a young adult who is just starting their professional journey—your credit history will be one of the many factors, like current and past employment, that we will consider as part of your application. 

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