On Experian's website (and, I imagine, the other two bureau sites) we have the option to obtain a credit report and a credit score report. The credit report is the report that we can get through annualcreditreport.com - it's free and can be done once per year for each bureau.

A credit report is a soft inquiry.

Now, we also have the option to buy the report and the FICO score for a fee. Online searches for the answer to this question don't seem to make a clear distinction between the score and the report.

If I decide to obtain my credit score by paying Experian or any other bureau, does it count as a soft or hard inquiry?

Reference: http://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/2012/07/04/checking-own-report-will-not-hurt-credit-scores/ (According to this, it looks as though a hard inquiry is only one that's pulled by a potential lender. Is this correct?)

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


You obtaining your own information is never a hard inquiry. The score is essentially a numerical quantifier based on the information in the report. It is not a different kind of query, the score is a result of a post processing of the report. You pay for that extra post processing, and each agency has its own algorithms (more than one, even).

  • Excellent. I pulled the trigger. Thanks! So then, this means that....in the event that a landlord needs to do a credit check, it would be better for me to check my own report and just show it to him or her?
    – user12337
    Commented May 31, 2015 at 18:28
  • 1
    @lunchmeat317 yes, but they would probably not trust it, and for them there's no downside to get one on their own (since you cover their costs anyway).
    – littleadv
    Commented May 31, 2015 at 19:33
  • When you get your copy of your own credit report, you probably agree (somewhere) to not share it with anyone, or at least to not share it with anyone who will use it to make credit decisions about you. But it would still be useful to look at your credit report to see if there are any issues before your landlord pulls your credit report. Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 11:26

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