The advice I've typically seen is more like this advice

“Hard inquiries,” also called “hard pulls,” are the kind that can cost you points. They happen when someone pulls your credit for the purpose of deciding whether to extend credit (or additional credit) to you.


A hard inquiry might cost you up to five points according to FICO, the creator of the most widely used scoring formulas. With VantageScore, an increasingly popular credit scoring model, an inquiry could cost 10 to 20 points.

I've noticed of late that I'm now getting credit card offers that say something like

Find out in 60 seconds or less if you qualify, with no impact to your credit

How can they promise no impact if they're doing a "hard pull"? Or is this a soft pull, followed by a hard pull if you qualify?

  • 3
    It doesn't matter. Losing a few points due to a hard pull is temporary and is unlikely to put you into a different band. Focus on what is important.
    – Pete B.
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 17:54
  • 3
    @PeteB. I tend to agree, but these claims about the credit score not changing seemed new to me. I was merely wondering if something had changed.
    – Machavity
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 18:49
  • 1
    credit score calculations are constantly changing. The best thing you can do to "hack" your score is to pay your bills on time.
    – Pete B.
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 18:57
  • 1
    This isn't a case of the calculation changing, just to be clear. It's a case of (newish) creative marketing on the part of the card issuers. The answers you have below are correct for the case of these credit card offers (they qualify you off the soft pull but then approve you off a hard pull later in the process), but as a footnote, there are some lenders that will approve some lending products without a hard pull - but these products are typically way overpriced in terms of interest rate.
    – dwizum
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 16:38

2 Answers 2


Companies that want to offer credit to new or existing customers, do a soft pull to get the basic information they need to put you in the "maybe" category. If you are an existing customer they have even more information and can use the info in the soft pull to put you in the "almost certain" category.

The fine print in the advertising tells you that you might not get the best offer, or any credit at all, when they know the full picture regarding pay, and debts.

The hard pull will only take place after you give them more details and agree to the credit check.


Read what they're saying. They're not saying they'll issue you a credit card without a hard pull. They are saying you can see if you qualify without a hard pull. What actually happens is

  1. You apply, and they ask you questions -- to collect all the data needed to give you the card.

  2. They do a "soft pull" to verify some of your answers.

  3. They offer you the card, relying on your answers from (1) being truthful.

  4. You accept.

  5. *Now they do a hard pull**, to verify the rest of your answers.

  6. If the data doesn't match your answers, they cancel your application claiming you applied on false pretenses.

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