After I was done with my month long credit card applications to establish a credit history, I read and discussed more on how to build a good credit history.
During my conversations, I spoke with a loan officer at a credit union who told me that any lender can see my complete history with a soft pull.
He proceeded to do a soft pull with my SSN number and showed me the screen he had in front of me and I could see not only my history, but well grouped summary of it, broken down into four sections per category.
Since he was a new hire, he was not very sure how a hard pull is different but told me they show the same information.
Why is that so and are the reports obtained via a hard pull different from a soft pull?
It does not make sense to have two different reports, and if they are the same, why do lenders do a hard pull when I initiate a credit application when they can do a soft pull to make the same decision?
Does the hard pull serve only as a notice to other lenders that it was initiated by you and not by the lender or are there differences, in reality?