What is a soft-search?
A soft-search is a type of credit search where a lender can get an idea of whether you’re eligible for borrowing by doing a soft search of your credit report. It doesn’t leave a mark like a ‘hard search’ does.
Also referred to as a ‘smart search’ or ‘quotation search’, a soft search allows a lender or yourself to check your eligibility for a loan without recording the search on your credit file. It’s different to a traditional hard search, which is visible to other potential lenders on your credit file for at least 12 months.
When your credit file contains several searches in a short space of time, it can be viewed negatively by potential lenders, as it suggests you urgently need credit or you’re struggling financially. A hard search also records whether your application was successful or not, which can also be seen by other lenders.
A soft search is therefore a great tool for checking eligibility on various lending products without affecting your existing credit score, particularly if you already have a below average or bad credit score. A soft search can only be seen by you.
Much like a traditional ‘hard search’, a soft search needs your personal details, such as your name, date of birth, address, and employment details, which are then submitted to a credit reference agency such as Experian or Equifax.
An assessment is made based upon your details and previous credit history. A score is given, indicating how likely you are to be accepted for your chosen product.
If you decide to go for a product based upon a successful soft search result, you’ll need to agree to complete a hard search.
A soft search result is merely an indication of your eligibility, and there is no guarantee you will pass the hard search. Soft search scoring systems can vary.
For example, it may give the applicant a score between 1 and 10 showing how likely you are to pass.
There is never a guarantee that you will go on to pass the hard search, as lenders score each potential customer based on personal details as well as credit history. Lenders set their own criteria as to how each of their questions is scored and these criteria can change at short notice. These small changes could be the difference between you passing or failing their check.
Freedom Finance never carries out a traditional hard search and so every application started through us uses a soft search.
We ask each applicant to fill out a detailed application form, which allows us to get the most accurate result. We can then provide you with a list of lenders that are best suited to you and offer the best chance of you being accepted.
Only when you apply to your lender of choice would they carry out a hard search, which will be recorded on your credit file.
If you find your soft search results are failing or only offering deals that you feel are undesirable for you and your needs, you could apply for a copy of your personal credit file through an agency such as Experian, Equifax, and Callcredit, or a free service like ClearScore. This should help you get to the bottom of the problem and enable you to look at ways to improve your credit score.
Whether you're planning on some home improvements, replacing your car or simply getting your finances in order, a loan from Freedom Finance could be more affordable than you think. Use our calculator above to find the ideal loan for you. All quotations given are for illustrative purposes only. Credit subject to status. The rate you are offered will depend on your personal circumstances, credit assessment procedures and other related factors.