You may have heard of the term ‘soft credit search’, ‘soft search’ or ‘eligibility check’ when applying for credit.

Anyone trying to obtain finance with a less than perfect rating will know that a number of applications and credit checks from lenders can harm your credit file. This is because it looks like you’re not getting credit and potentially desperate for money – which could be seen as a risk.

As part of the application process some lenders have now introduced a ‘soft search‘. This looks at a number of elements to gauge how likely you are to be accepted and what potential rate, if applicable, you may get on a product without having a formal credit check.

While it will still leave a footprint on your file it won’t affect your eligibility for products later down the line. So it can be ideal if you are looking at various products in the marketplace. If you were to compare products from a number of lenders the real likelihood is that you would have to undergo a full credit check from each provider.

When you are shopping around take five minutes to see which companies use a soft search or eligibility checks as part of the application process.

Alternatively you could check online for credit cards or finance which provide a soft credit search option. It can also be known as a ‘Quotation Search’, ‘QuickCheck’, ‘Smart Search’ or ‘No Harm Credit Check’. Check with the credit provider beforehand if you’re in any doubt.

Are Soft Credit Searches reliable?

A soft credit search can help to give an indication of whether you’re likely to be accepted or refused credit when you apply; however there are no guarantees that the results you get here would be reflective of a full credit check. If you’re in any doubt we’d recommend checking with the credit provider first.