Since the enactment of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) in 2003, Americans have had the right to obtain free copies of their annual credit reports. Despite this right existing for 20 years, it’s interesting to note that, according to a recent survey commissioned by CardRates, 25% of consumers still mistakenly believe that checking their credit report will harm their credit score.


Checking Your Credit Report Does Not Harm Your Credit Score

This misconception mainly arises from confusion about the types of credit inquiries. In fact, when you check your own credit report, the credit bureaus record a “soft” inquiry, not a “hard” inquiry. This soft inquiry is visible only to you and has no impact on your credit score. In contrast, hard inquiries are typically associated with applications for loans or credit cards and may have a minor impact on credit scores, but this impact is usually small and short-lived.

Impact of Inquiry Types

  • Soft Inquiries: Visible only to you and do not impact your credit score.
  • Hard Inquiries: May have a short-term impact on your credit score, but it’s usually minor and not a cause for concern.

How to Safely Check Your Credit

To safely check your credit report and score, you can use the following methods:

  1. This is the only official website mandated by law to provide your free annual credit reports.
  2. Credit Card Companies: Many credit card issuers offer free FICO credit scores, making it convenient for you to monitor your credit.
  3. Credit Score Service Providers: Both FICO and VantageScore offer various free and paid services that allow you to regularly check your credit score.


By regularly checking your credit report and score, you can better understand your credit status and promptly detect any potential errors or fraud. This not only helps you maintain good credit health but also allows you to avoid unauthorized credit inquiries negatively impacting your credit score.

Therefore, don’t avoid checking your credit report out of fear of affecting your credit score. In reality, it’s crucial for maintaining good credit health.

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