Credit reports are subject to two types of pulls: hard and soft. A hard pull impacts your credit score because you offer consent for the pull when you request new credit or certain services. Firms considering offering you credit use soft pulls that don't alter your score because consent isn't always given.
If a credit card company wants to send you an offer for credit or increase your credit limit on an existing account, it may prescreen you with a soft credit pull. These pulls occur with or without your permission. However, some companies may soft pull your report with your consent when you request preapproval for a mortgage or car loan or an insurance quote.
When you actually submit an application for a mortgage loan, credit card or insurance policy, you authorize a hard credit check. Some applications ask for consent to run a credit check on a separate form, but others include the request in a footnote or on the back of your paperwork. If a person or business hard pulls your credit without permission, you may dispute the inquiry with the credit bureau that issued the report.
Ashley Mott has 12 years of small business management experience and a BSBA in accounting from Columbia. She is a full-time government and public safety reporter for Gannett.