3 Differences Between Hard and Soft Credit Checks

When a tenant applies for an apartment, the landlord generally runs a credit check. Basically, the credit check helps the landlord determine the riskiness of a tenant. When a credit check is run, it is either a Hard or Soft Credit Check. There are 3 differences between them.

Differences Between Soft and Hard Inquiries

 Soft InquiriesHard Inquiries
Doesn’t affect credit scoreAffects credit score
Used by creditors for preapproved offersUsed by creditors and lenders for credit or loan application
Consent not requiredWritten consent required

Are Tenant Credit Checks Hard Inquiries?

Credit checks for rental applications are generally hard inquiries and lower a credit score by a few points. As a result, if a tenant submits 5 applications, then their credit score will slightly decrease 5 times. Hard inquiries stay on a credit report for up to 2 years but usually affect a credit score for only 1 year. In addition, if a tenant has multiple hard inquiries on their credit report, other lenders may consider them high risk. As a result, it is best for tenants to get Soft Credit Checks.

How to Get a Soft Credit Check

Many landlords are not aware of the types of credit checks. In additions, they do not know who provides one versus the other. As a result, it is up to tenants to ask landlords about the application process and Soft Credit Checks. In some cases, a tenant may be able to provide their own Soft Credit Check. TransUnion’s SmartMove and Experian provide Soft Credit Checks for rental applications, and many property management software companies use them. The table below lists popular property management software companies and their credit report providers.

PM Software ServiceTenant Credit Reports
Cozy/Apartments.comExperian
TenantCloudSmartMove (TransUnion)
AvailSmartMove (TransUnion)
TurboTenantSmartMove (TransUnion)
ZillowExperian

Other Credit Info

Three Reasons Tenants Should Check Their Credit Reports

Rent Payments Can Be Reported to Credit Bureaus

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