Manage Your Credit With a Free Credit Score Canada

Does Checking Your Credit Score Hurt Your Credit?

Advertiser Disclosure This article/post contains references to products or services from one or more of our advertisers or partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products or services.
Last updated on June 16, 2021 Comments: 2

Your Canadian credit score is a number assigned to you by Canada’s credit bureaus, and it’s based on your history of borrowing and repaying loans and credit cards on time. Banks, credit card companies, and loan providers will check your credit score before they offer you a credit card or loan. Other lenders, like car dealerships, could also check your credit score before offering you financing on a new vehicle, for example.

Your credit score ranges between 300 and 900—the higher your score, the more creditworthy you are.

Does Checking Your Credit Score Lower It?

The short answer is no. The mere act of checking your credit score won’t hurt it. This is just one of many misconceptions about what does and doesn’t affect your credit score that many people buy into. But there are other actions that will hurt it, and reading a bit more about the subject will go a long way toward keeping your score in good shape.

Soft Credit Check vs. Hard Credit Check

Essentially, a hard credit check is the kind that can lower your credit score, but a soft credit check won’t affect it.

While every time someone checks your credit score, it’s recorded as a “hit” or “pull” in your files, not every inquiry can be seen by everyone.

What Is a Soft Credit Check?

Soft credit checks can only be seen by you and the person who made the original inquiry. This means that when a prospective lender looks at your credit file, they won’t see any of the soft credit pulls that have taken place, only the hard ones.

Basically, a soft credit check refers to any time someone reviews your credit for non-lending purposes.

What Is a Hard Credit Check?

A hard credit check is associated with someone looking for credit. It’s visible to anyone who checks your file in the future, and it doesn’t look good for your creditworthiness.

It’s not recommended to apply for a lot of credit products over and over, as most credit card companies and loan providers run hard credit checks when evaluating applications for their cards and loans, and a number of hard credit checks in a short time can do damage to your credit score. There are, however, exceptions among secured card issuers and no-credit lenders, some of which offer products that don’t require a credit check.

How to Minimize the Damage of Hard Credit Checks

At this point, you’re probably wondering how you can ever safely get a credit card without damaging your score. You’ll also probably need a mortgage at some point, which requires hard credit inquiries, as well. But this is nothing to panic over.

The main thing to remember is not to have too many hard credit checks on file at once. If you’re in the market for a credit card, new car financing, or a mortgage, it’s best to make all of the applications within a couple of weeks, so that they all show up as one set of applications rather than many hard credit hits.

You can minimize the risk of credit card rejection by only applying for credit cards that you actually need and are likely to be approved for. Check your credit score (soft check) before you apply for a credit card, so that you can be sure that your credit rating falls within the credit card company’s requirements. Certain credit cards also allow you to check the interest rate you could qualify for before you apply for the card. This service is categorized as a soft credit check, so it won’t harm your credit score for the future.

Author Bio

GreedyRates is Canada’s go-to resource for all things personal finance. Our expert articles and videos cover every topic under the financial sun, including credit cards, credit scores, loans, bank accounts, budgeting, investing, RSPs, TFSAs, GICs, taxes, and more. Want our advice on a personal finance issue? Send us an email at [email protected] and we’ll gladly give you some free tips.

Article comments

busisiwe mazibuko says:

how to check my credit score

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Busisiwe,

All Canadians are entitled to see their credit score for free once per year, thanks to regulations that force credit bureaus like Equifax and TransUnion to offer their most basic service to those who would otherwise be unable afford it. Just go to Equifax or TransUnion’s website (if you’re a citizen then both will have records of your finances) and go through the forms required for identity verification, and they’ll email you a very basic summary of your credit. It won’t be fully comprehensive, and nowhere near as detailed as a credit report (which you should also probably buy from either bureau).

Armed with this information, you’ll be better able to pin down your creditworthiness and apply for loans that fit. Email us at [email protected] if you need any personal assistance, we’re always here to help.

GreedyRates Staff