As someone who is concerned about their financial well-being, I often find myself browsing through forums and discussion boards on Reddit to learn more about personal finance and credit scores. Recently, I came across a thread that caught my attention – “Why does checking your credit score lower it?”
Curious to know the answer myself, I delved deeper into the subject to uncover the truth behind this common misconception. And in this article, I’ll share my findings and personal insights into why checking your credit score does not actually lower it, debunking this myth once and for all.
The Confusion: Soft Inquiries vs. Hard Inquiries
One of the main reasons why people believe that checking their credit score lowers it is due to a misunderstanding between soft inquiries and hard inquiries.
Soft inquiries are made by you or by others who are not evaluating your creditworthiness. These inquiries have no impact on your credit score. Examples of soft inquiries include checking your own credit report or when a lender pre-approves you for a credit card offer. They are simply a way for individuals or companies to get a general idea of your credit history without affecting your creditworthiness.
On the other hand, hard inquiries occur when a lender or creditor pulls your credit report to assess your creditworthiness for a loan or credit application. These inquiries do have a minor, temporary impact on your credit score, usually reducing it by a few points. However, this impact is usually minimal and short-lived, especially if you have a strong credit history overall.
Understanding Credit Score Variations
Another factor that contributes to this misconception is the variation in credit scores across different credit reporting agencies and scoring models. Each agency and model may weigh certain factors differently, resulting in varying credit score numbers.
For example, if you check your credit score on one platform and then check it on another, you might notice a difference in the numbers. This discrepancy is not caused by the act of checking itself, but rather from the different scoring algorithms used by each platform.
The Benefits of Regularly Checking Your Credit Score
Despite the myth, regularly checking your credit score actually has several benefits. Here are a few reasons why you should make it a regular habit:
- Monitor your financial health: By keeping an eye on your credit score, you can detect any sudden drops or unexpected changes, allowing you to take immediate action if needed.
- Identify errors and fraud: Reviewing your credit score regularly helps you identify any inaccurate information or signs of fraudulent activity on your credit report, giving you the opportunity to dispute errors and protect yourself from identity theft.
- Track your progress: Checking your credit score over time allows you to see how your financial habits and decisions impact your creditworthiness. It can serve as a motivation to improve your financial behaviors and work towards a higher score.
So, the next time someone tells you that checking your credit score lowers it, you can confidently debunk this myth. Soft inquiries have no impact, and while hard inquiries may temporarily lower your score, the effect is minimal.
Regularly checking your credit score is an essential part of maintaining good financial health and protecting yourself from potential issues. By understanding the difference between soft and hard inquiries and knowing the benefits of monitoring your credit score, you can stay informed and make better financial decisions.
Remember, knowledge is power, and being well-informed about your credit score is key to achieving your financial goals.