Checking your credit score is essential in keeping your finances in check. One of the most popular ways to keep an eye on your credit score is through Credit Karma. However, many people question whether checking their credit score on Credit Karma will lower it.
In this article, we’ll dive into the specifics of how Credit Karma works and whether checking your credit score on this platform can, in fact, impact your credit score.
Understanding Credit Scores
Before diving into Credit Karma’s specifics, understanding how credit scores work is essential.
A credit score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness. It ranges from 300 to 850, with a higher score indicating that you’re more likely to repay your debts.
A credit score is calculated using various factors, including your payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, and types of credit accounts.
Credit Karma and Soft Inquiries
One of the main reasons why people use Credit Karma is because it offers free credit reports and scores. Credit Karma uses what’s called a soft inquiry to provide this information.
A soft inquiry is a type of credit check that doesn’t impact your credit score. Unlike a hard inquiry (which we’ll discuss later), a soft inquiry doesn’t appear on your credit report or affect your credit score.
You’re not initiating a hard inquiry when you check your credit score on Credit Karma. Instead, Credit Karma performs a soft inquiry to retrieve your credit report and score. This means that if you’re checking your credit score on Credit Karma, it won’t have any impact on your credit score.
Hard Inquiries and Their Impact on Credit Scores
While checking your credit score on Credit Karma won’t impact your credit score, not all credit checks are created equal.
A hard inquiry, also known as a hard credit check, can impact your credit score. A hard inquiry occurs when a financial institution checks your credit as part of the application process for a loan, credit card, or other financial product.
Hard inquiries can impact your credit score because they indicate that you are actively seeking credit.
If you have too many hard inquiries in a short period of time, it could suggest that you’re struggling financially or taking on too much debt. This can cause your credit score to drop, making it more challenging to get approved for credit in the future.
How Often Should You Check Your Credit Score?
Now that we’ve covered the basics of credit scores and credit checks let’s talk about how often you should check your credit score.
While checking your credit score can be beneficial, balancing staying informed and checking too often is essential.
Checking your credit score too frequently can lead to what’s called “credit score fatigue.” This is when you become overly focused on your credit score, leading to stress and anxiety. It’s also important to note that checking your credit score too often won’t improve it.
Generally, checking your credit score once every three to six months is a good idea. This will give you enough time to see significant changes in your credit score while also preventing credit score fatigue.
In conclusion, checking your credit score on Credit Karma won’t lower your credit score. Credit Karma uses a soft inquiry to retrieve your credit report and score, which doesn’t affect your credit score. However, it’s important to be mindful of hard inquiries, which can impact your credit score.
Remember, checking your credit score regularly can be beneficial, but it’s essential to strike a balance between staying informed and checking too often.
By checking your credit score once every three to six months, you can stay on top of your finances without becoming overly fixated on your credit score.