Return to The Money Mentor Blog

When is your credit score pulled?

A woman has her credit pulled when she applies for an apartment rental.
August 09, 2018

By Kathryn Pins

You may be surprised at some of the times your credit is pulled. I just recently learned that my credit score was pulled when I applied for a cell phone. After some research, I (thankfully) found out that it did not affect my score but it got me thinking, are there other times my score would be viewed? We’ve provided a list below so that you’re prepared for the next time you apply for a new loan or open an account, especially if you have frozen your credit.

A credit pull, also known as a credit inquiry, is when a third party views your credit report. As you will see in the list below, there are two types of credit inquiries. Only hard inquiries negatively affect your credit score. A hard credit inquiry happens when a potential lender checks your credit to determine whether or not you qualify for a loan and at what rate. (You can learn more by reading: Know the difference between hard vs. soft credit inquiries.)

Hard credit inquires

Your credit would be pulled if you apply for one of the following:

Apartment rental

Business loan

Cable plan*

Car loan

Cell phone plan*

Credit card

Mortgage

Paying for a rental car with a debit card*

Personal loan

Student loan

Utilities*

Soft credit inquiries

A third party may view your credit score in the following circumstances:

Alliant membership application

Background checks

Checking your own credit score

Employment verification

Insurance policies

Opening a savings or checking account

Preapproval offers: credit cards, insurance quotes, lenders, etc.

Let’s talk about the starred items

These items are surprisingly sometimes a hard credit pull. A credit score is composed of a variety of factors, including whether or not you pay your bills on time. A cable, phone or utility company will do an inquiry because they want to do business with people who pay their bills.

 A rental car company will want to ensure that you can pay for any damages to your car. To avoid this check on your credit, you can simply pay for a rental car using a credit card. Need more info? Read: The best way to pay for a rental car

If you are concerned about whether or not your credit score will be impacted, give the company a call. Often times, on an application, the organization will be upfront about how they pull credit. If you are still unsure, a conversation is always best.

The importance of good credit

Good credit will help you get better rates and more lending opportunities. It could even help you get your dream job. In order to ensure you have a healthy score and it stays that way, learn how your credit score is calculated and ways to build your credit score.


Kathryn Pins is a marketing content specialist at Alliant. She’s passionate about finding and communicating meaningful financial information with Money Mentor readers. Kathryn is a saver who gets more excited about certificates and her Roth IRA than shopping. When she does spend her earnings, it’s on furthering her education, travel, unique experiences, and loved ones.