How Many Times Can You Check Your Credit Score Without Hurting Your Credit?

Question from John: How many times can you check your credit score without hurting your credit?


You can check your credit score as many times as you want without hurting your credit. This is because when you check your credit score yourself, it’s considered a “soft inquiry” or “soft pull.” Soft inquiries do not affect your credit score.

Understanding Soft and Hard Inquiries

There are two types of credit checks: soft inquiries and hard inquiries.

  • Soft inquiries: These occur when you check your own credit score or when a company checks your credit for a background check. Soft inquiries do not affect your credit score.
  • Hard inquiries: These occur when a financial institution, such as a lender or credit card issuer, checks your credit when making a lending decision. Hard inquiries can slightly lower your credit score and typically stay on your credit report for two years.

According to Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, hard inquiries typically lower your credit score by less than five points. However, multiple hard inquiries in a short period of time can have a more significant impact, as it may signal to lenders that you are a higher-risk borrower.

Improving Your Credit Score

If you’re looking to improve your credit score, here are some widely-accepted practices:

  • Pay your bills on time: Your payment history is the most significant factor in your credit score. Consistently paying your bills on time can help improve your score.
  • Keep your credit utilization low: This is the ratio of your outstanding credit card balances to your credit card limits. It’s generally recommended to keep your credit utilization below 30%.
  • Don’t close old credit cards: The length of your credit history can affect your score. Even if you don’t use a credit card, it can be beneficial to keep it open to maintain a longer credit history.
  • Limit hard inquiries: As mentioned earlier, hard inquiries can lower your score. Only apply for new credit when necessary.

Remember, regularly checking your credit score is a good financial habit. It allows you to understand where your credit stands and how your financial behaviors affect your score. Plus, it can help you spot any errors on your credit report that could be hurting your score.

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