Are Credit Searches Damaging to your Credit File?

Curious about Credit

 

A credit search, or credit check, is a snapshot of your financial behaviour used by credit providers to indicate the “risk” of lending money. There are two different types of credit searches; one that won’t affect your credit rating, and one that could.

‘Hard’ credit searches: When you apply for credit, such as a mortgage or credit card, the lender will run checks to see how likely you are to meet repayments. If you’ve applied for a new job or want to rent a property someone might run a credit search to confirm your identity and see how you manage your money. These are called ‘hard’ credit checks.

‘Soft’ credit searches: To check your credit as it would appear to potential lenders, you can run a ‘soft’ search. A soft search on your credit file can also be carried out by third parties to pre-approve you for credit, like a mortgage in principle.

 

What happens in a credit search?

 

In a credit search, your financial history is thoroughly checked and scored. Lots of factors are considered, including your level of debt, late payments, CCJs, IVAs and bankruptcies. This also includes anyone you’re linked to financially and whether you’re on the electoral register.

You’re given a score for each section and the sum of all the scores is a three-digit number. This is your credit score or rating.

Different credit referencing agencies use different scores, but on a scale of 0 to 999 for example, a good score would be somewhere between 800 and 950, and a fair to average score would be between 700 and 800. At DivideBuy, we use TransUnion as our credit reference agency. You can check your credit score through them for free here.

 

What effect does a credit search have on my credit file?

 

Soft credit searches don’t affect your credit file, and you can check your credit as often as you like in this way. Checks will be recorded on the file but are not visible to third parties so it won’t affect the way lenders see you.

A hard credit search alone isn’t likely to have an impact on your credit file, it’s only when several hard searches are carried out in a short period of time that your credit score could be affected. Hard credit searches show up on your credit file, and too many in a short timeframe could indicate that you’re trying to open a few new accounts at the same time.

In turn, this kind of activity might suggest that you’re in a bit of hot water financially, perhaps struggling to pay bills or overspending, which equates to “risk” as far as lenders are concerned. As a result, you might notice a temporary drop in your credit score.

 

How long do credit searches stay on your file?

 

Soft searches on your credit file don’t leave any kind of black mark on the file, and although they are recorded, only you can see them.

Hard credit searches are visible to you and third parties, and most stay on your credit report for just over a year. Some hard searches may stay on your credit file for longer and searches by debt collection companies are visible for a couple of years. For example, any missed payments can show for up to 6 years.

Most hard credit searches on your credit report won’t affect your credit file after a year, but it’s a good idea to avoid any unnecessary hard checks. At DivideBuy, we offer a soft search function so you can see how likely you are to be accepted for credit before making any formal applications.

A soft credit search is a free way to find out where you stand financially, highlighting any loans and credit you have as well as your payment history. A soft check can help you figure out whether you need to rebuild your credit file or take other steps to improve your credit rating.

Call us on 0800 085 0885 and one of our friendly representatives will be happy to tell you more!

Page last updated: 23 August 2021
Recent Articles
New year, new level of fitness: Buying fitness equipment on finance
The start of a new year is always a popular time for people to start getting in shape. It’s not only good for your health, it can be fun too! Especially when we’ve all been stuck at home more than usual over the last year or so. With budgets for many people still tight after […]
19th January 2022
How DivideBuy encourages responsible lending
At DivideBuy we pride ourselves on being responsible lenders, making sure that those using our service have all the information they need before making a purchase using interest free credit. Whilst our platform allows our customers to split the cost of payments, making it possible to buy the items they want while spreading the cost […]
6th January 2022
Celebrate the New Year with new possibilities
Make 2022 the year you stick to your resolutions. There are so many ideas to choose from, whether it’s learning a language or learning an instrument, staying healthy at home or having fun outdoors, our retailers are sure to have the perfect solution for your New Year’s resolutions. And with our interest free credit facility, […]
29th December 2021

Subscribe & Follow

Customer
Newsletter

Sign up to receive news, offers and new retailers as it happens.

Skip to content