Soft search loans.

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Representative 49.9% APR. Representative Example: Borrowing £1,000 over 12 months, repaying £103.06 per month, total repayable £1,236.72. Interest rate 49.9% (variable).

Soft Search Loans

What is a soft search?

A soft search is a search made on your credit file that won’t affect your credit score. A soft search will be recorded on your credit file but only you will be able to see it (not lenders or providers).

Soft searches are a safe way to check your chances of being accepted for a credit product before you apply. This is important because a declined loan application can lower your credit score, making your search for credit even more difficult. Use the Choose Wisely Loan Search Tool. Lenders will conduct a soft search to decide if your application meets their criteria. You can then choose from lenders that have accepted your application in principle. We use a soft search to show you which lenders are ready to accept your application.

IMPORTANT The final decision on whether or not you’re granted a loan will always rest with the provider and is subject to their final checks of your credit history, background, and identity. You therefore may still be refused a loan even if the details you submit suggest you are eligible and your application is provisionally accepted.”

Can I get a soft credit search loan?

Soft credit searches can give you an idea of which credit products you’ve got a good chance of getting but they are not a 100% confirmation that you’ll be approved.

Lenders use more than your credit file when deciding whether to lend to you. Your affordability, employment status and other factors contribute to whether or not you can get a loan. It is unlikely you will be offered a loan off the back of a soft search but it can happen. For example, when you’re applying for a guarantor loan, you may only receive a soft search but your guarantor will receive a hard search.

Whatever your situation, a soft search is a good idea, especially if you are unsure on what product you would like to go for or what options you have.

Be cautious about lenders offering you a loan with no credit check. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Should I still apply for a loan if a soft search shows no eligible lenders?

If you’ve used a loan search tool and you’re seeing limited or no suitable lenders then it is extremely unlikely you’ll be accepted when you make an application, so think very carefully before you apply and consider alternative options first.

If you can, try to be more flexible with your loan requirements, (e.g. borrow less money or extend the loan over a longer term) and lenders might be more likely to accept you. Look into a guarantor loan as well as this could increase your chances of acceptance.

If your credit history isn’t great use our bad credit loans comparison table to compare your options.

Make sure you can afford the repayments before you apply for a loan. If you’re facing financial difficulty, visit the Money Advice Service.

No matter what your credit score is, it’s a good idea to have a look at your credit file as you might find mistakes that need straightening out. You can find out more about your credit score using our 'Credit File Spot Check guide.'

Will a soft loan search improve my credit score?

No, not directly. But it may prevent you from choosing the wrong product and being declined which would harm your credit file. .

Avoid applying for many different loans or credit products within a short space of time as this can put lenders off. Look for a loan search tool or better yet, use the Choose Wisely Loan Search Tool.

Final Word

A soft credit check is designed to help you shortlist potential products and gain a better idea of what products are suitable for your circumstances. A soft search does not provide a final decision on whether you’ll be granted a loan. You can use the Choose Wisely Eligibility Checker or the Choose Wisely Loan Search Tool to find the right loan for you. As always, make sure you can afford your loan repayments before you apply and compare your options.

Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk