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Soft Pull Personal Loans: What They Are + Your Options

Updated on April 9, 2024

At a Glance

  • Soft credit checks, common in lease or personal loan applications, don’t impact credit scores.
  • Beneficial for those with no or bad credit, as they don’t negatively affect credit scores.
  • Exercise caution with lenders offering soft inquiry loans, as some may have unfair terms.
  • Hard credit checks, impacting scores, are used for credit cards, loans, and mortgages; disputing a hard inquiry is not possible if permission was given.

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Navigating credit is challenging, particularly for those new to credit scores and their impact. Many people struggle with poor or no credit, which complicates loan approval and credit improvement due to lenders’ and bureaus’ stringent policies. Loan application processes can be perplexing, but don’t worry—we’ve simplified it for you. Continue reading to understand soft credit checks, how they differ from hard checks, and discover lenders that offer soft-pull personal loans.

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What is a Soft Credit Check?

A soft inquiry is a type of credit check that doesn’t count negatively towards your credit score. It is not shown on your credit report. The person or company doing the soft inquiry checks your credit report as a background check, such as when you would apply for a lease or a personal loan.

Soft inquiries do not affect your credit score and can be useful if you want to if you are approved. If you get approved with a soft inquiry personal loan, you can compare the rates and terms of the loan before moving forward with a lender. If you have bad credit and don’t want your score to be negatively affected, then a soft inquiry loan might be the right option for you. It’ll keep your credit safe in the long run.

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Can You Get a Loan With Only a Soft Credit Pull?

When applying for most personal loans, a hard credit check, which is a thorough review of your credit history, is usually part of the complete application process. However, to get prequalified for a loan, a lender will often conduct just a soft credit inquiry.

Prequalification is a preliminary step in the personal loan application process. During this stage, a lender assesses your potential eligibility for a loan by performing a soft credit check, which doesn’t impact your credit score.

Although prequalification doesn’t guarantee approval and the estimates provided may not be exact, it does give a preliminary indication of whether your financial status appears sufficient for loan repayment.

Should you choose to move forward with the loan application after prequalification, be prepared for a hard credit check. This is a more in-depth review that will affect your credit score to some extent.

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What is a No Credit Check Loan?

A no-credit-check loan is a type of loan offered by lenders, such as payday loan companies, that do not evaluate an applicant’s credit report or score before issuing a loan. These loans are generally for smaller amounts—usually up to a maximum of a few thousand dollars—and are aimed at covering urgent expenses or bridging temporary income gaps. They are characterized by their short repayment schedules, which can range from a few weeks to a couple of months.

The absence of a credit history review implies a higher risk for the lender, which is typically counterbalanced by charging significantly high annual interest rates. The combination of steep interest rates and short repayment terms can make these loans challenging to pay back on time. This may result in borrowers becoming caught in a cycle of debt as they struggle to meet the repayment demands.

Be Careful: No credit check loans can be Predatory

Watch out for unfair loan terms when agreeing to a soft inquiry loan. Many predatory lenders focus solely on credit, and not at all on the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. Be sure to do your homework and figure out all that the soft inquiry loan entails before agreeing to it.

Keep an eye out for:

  • Payday Lenders
  • High-interest rates
  • Loans bigger than you can realistically afford to pay back

6 Soft Pull Personal Loans

When considering a personal loan, many are wary of the potential negative impact that a hard credit inquiry can have on their credit score.

For borrowers interested in exploring their options with minimal impact on their credit scores, platforms like Fiona can be an excellent resource. Such platforms connect borrowers with various lenders, enabling them to easily compare personalized loan offers based on soft credit checks, thereby streamlining the decision-making process while preserving credit health.

Opting for lenders that offer a soft credit check during the initial application process can alleviate these concerns, providing an initial assessment without affecting one’s credit. Here’s a closer look at lenders that align with this approach:

Spotlight Loans (Best for Bad Credit)

With Spotlight Loans, individuals can secure a personal loan without worrying about a hard credit check impacting their credit score. Their soft credit check process allows customers to explore loan options without any commitment, ensuring a hassle-free borrowing experience tailored to their needs.

Spotlight Loans

4.8
Stilt rating
Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

None

Fixed APR

6.63% and up

Variable APR

N/A

Overview

  • Minimum credit score: n/a
  • Variable APR: 4.99% and up
  • Loan amounts: $100 – $5,000
  • Repayment: Depends on choice of lender

Qualifications

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a checking or savings account
  • Have regular income
  • Have a fair credit rating

Pros

  • Spotlight Loans is willing to work with individuals who have less-than-perfect credit, making it a viable option for those who may struggle to secure loans from traditional lenders​​​​.
  • Spotlight Loans offers same-day approval and funding, which is beneficial for those in urgent need of funds. This makes it a good option for emergency financial situations​​.
  • Unlike traditional payday loans, Spotlight Loans provides the option to repay the loan over a period of months, offering more flexibility in repayment planning​​​​.

Cons

  • One of the most significant drawbacks of taking a personal loan with Spotlight Loans is the potentially high interest rates. With APRs that can be much higher than traditional personal loan lenders, this can lead to substantial interest payments over time​​.
  • Spotlight Loans offers loan amounts that are relatively low, which may not be sufficient for all borrowers’ needs​​​​.
  • Spotlight Loans services are not available in all states, so it’s important to check if you reside in an eligible location before applying​​.

Spring Loans (Best for Bad Credit and No Credit)

Understanding the challenges that come with limited or negative credit history, Spring Loans offers a soft credit check to ensure that applicants aren’t further disadvantaged by the loan-seeking process. Their approach provides a sense of assurance to those with bad or no credit, allowing them to explore financial solutions without the fear of diminishing their credit even further.

Spring Loans Personal Loan

4.2
Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

None

Fixed APR

27.00%

Variable APR

N/A

Overview

  • Minimum credit score: None.
  • Fixed APR: 27.00%
  • Loan amounts: $3,000.
  • Repayment: 48 months.

Qualifications

  • Demonstrate a recurrent income.
  • Minimum age prerequisite: 18 years.
  • Validate U.S. citizenship status with an SSN.
  • Provide a legitimate U.S. driver’s license or a state identity card.
  • Establish a functional bank account for incoming deposits.
  • Adhere to any specific demands by the loan provider.

Pros

  • Open to applicants with any credit background.
  • Four-year loan period aids in structured financial management.
  • The $3,000 offer addresses several short-term financial challenges.
  • Wide-reaching eligibility criteria invite a broad spectrum of applicants.
  • The focus on dependable income over job title benefits varied income sources.

Cons

  • The set 27% APR is higher than many alternatives.
  • Restriction to a $3,000 loan might not cover all financial outlays.
  • Possessing specific IDs is mandatory, sidelining some applicants.
  • A prerequisite for an ongoing bank account may limit certain users.

First Premier Lending (Best for Bad Credit)

For those with credit missteps in their past, First Premier Lending offers a compassionate approach. Recognizing the value of maintaining one’s credit health, they provide potential borrowers with a soft credit check option, enabling them to consider loan possibilities without the repercussions of a hard inquiry.

First Premier Lending Personal Loan

4.2
Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

None

Fixed APR

27.00%

Variable APR

N/A

Overview

  • Minimum credit score: None.
  • Fixed APR: 27.00%.
  • Loan amounts: $3,000.
  • Repayment: 48 months.

Qualifications

  • Maintain a consistent source of income.
  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Possess valid U.S. citizenship and a legitimate social security number.
  • Hold a current U.S. driver’s license or state-issued ID.
  • Keep an active bank account for direct deposit.
  • Satisfy any lender-specific criteria, such as credit rating, borrowing history, or place of residence.

Pros

  • No minimum credit score requirement allows accessibility for those with varied credit histories.
  • 48-month term provides clarity and allows for long-term financial planning.
  • Specific loan amount of $3,000 can meet many short-term financial needs.
  • Broad set of qualifications make the loan accessible to a wide range of people.
  • Emphasis on consistent income, not necessarily employment type, allows flexibility for borrowers.

Cons

  • A fixed APR of 27% is relatively high.
  • Loan amount is capped at $3,000, which might not cater to larger financial requirements.
  • Requirement of a U.S. driver’s license or state-issued ID could exclude some individuals.
  • Mandatory active bank account could be limiting for those who are unbanked.

AmOne (Best for Okay to Good Credit)

AmOne is geared towards individuals who have moderate to good credit scores and are cautious about the footprint hard inquiries can leave. Offering a soft credit check means applicants can get a glimpse of their potential loan terms with AmOne without committing fully or damaging their credit profile. This process allows borrowers to make an informed decision, balancing their loan needs with their credit health.

AmOne Personal Loan

4.5
Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

600

Fixed APR

3.99%-35.99%

Variable APR

N/A

Overview

  • Minimum credit score: 600.
  • Fixed APR: 3.99%-35.99%.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000.
  • Repayment: 1 to 7 years.

Qualifications

  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • While there’s no specific income requirement, a consistent source of income is essential for the applicant.

Pros

  • Suitable for individuals with lower credit scores.
  • No cost for the matching service.
  • Attractive loan rates.

Cons

  • Acts as an intermediary, not a direct lender.
  • Risk of multiple contacts from prospective lenders.
  • Lack of clarity on lender details.

Upgrade (Best for Good to Great Credit)

Upgrade caters to individuals with commendable credit who are nonetheless vigilant about their credit’s well-being. Their soft credit check feature allows applicants to assess potential loan terms and rates without making a lasting mark on their credit report. This ensures that those with good to great credit can maintain their scores while seeking out the best financial solutions.

Upgrade Personal Loan

5.0
Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

560

Fixed APR

8.49% - 35.99%

Variable APR

N/A

Overview

  • Minimum credit score: 560
  • Fixed APR: 8.49% – 35.99%
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Repayment: 3 to 5 years (7 years on some larger loans)

Qualifications

  • Possess an active bank account.
  • Able to provide a legitimate email address.
  • Minimum age requirement: 18 years (19 for Alabama residents).
  • Credit score of 600 or higher.
  • Annual income of $25,000 or more.

Pros

  • Willing to accommodate borrowers with a credit score as low as 560.
  • Offers flexibility with a range of loan amounts from $1,000 to $50,000. This can be suitable for both small and large financial needs.
  • Provides options for repayment, allowing borrowers to choose a timeline that best suits their financial situation.
  • Once approved, borrowers can access funds in just one day, which is useful for urgent financial needs.

Cons

  • Origination fees can go as high as 9.99%, which might add a significant cost to the loan.
  • Apart from the origination fee, there are fees for late payments and failed payments, which can add up if one is not careful.
  • While there is an option to extend repayment for larger loans up to 7 years, it’s not standard for all loan amounts.

BestEgg (Best for Good Credit)

BestEgg, catering to those with good credit, understands the importance of preserving one’s credit standing. By offering a soft credit check during the initial phase, applicants can gauge the feasibility and attractiveness of a loan with BestEgg, all while keeping their credit history untouched and uncompromised.

BestEgg Personal Loan

4.5
Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

600

Fixed APR

8.99-35.99%

Variable APR

N/A

Overview

  • Minimum credit score: 600.
  • Fixed APR: 8.99-35.99%.
  • Loan amounts: $2,000-$50,000.
  • Repayment: 3 to 5 years.

Qualifications

  • Targets borrowers with good to excellent credit; fair credit may qualify.
  • Minimum credit score of 600.
  • At least two years of credit history.
  • Minimum annual income: $3,500 from various sources like employment, alimony, and more.
  • Debt-to-income ratio: 40%, or 65% when including a mortgage.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen.

Pros

  • Soft credit check available for pre-qualification.
  • Offers a diverse spectrum of loan amounts.
  • Provides options for secured loans.
  • Direct payments can be made to creditors for debt consolidation.
  • Late fees are not charged.

Cons

  • Charges an origination fee.
  • Doesn’t offer rate discounts.
  • Initial payment date isn’t customizable.
  • Lacks a dedicated mobile app for loan management.

Soft Inquiry vs. Hard Inquiry: What is a Hard Credit Pull?

A hard pull is another type of credit score check that will affect your credit report. This type of credit check occurs when you authorize a lender (whom you’ve applied for credit with) to review your credit report. They do this so that they can make a decision on the type of loan they can provide you. Hard pull issuers often include financial institutions such as credit card companies and other lenders.

Hard pulls are usually used when credit checks are acquired for various credit card issuers and loans, and for mortgages. Be wary of how often you allow your credit report to be drawn up, as hard pulls always affect your credit and decrease your FICO score.

If you have no credit history, it’s generally better to avoid hard pull credit inquiries, as they are likely to be denied right away.

Does a Hard Pull Hurt My Credit Score?

Yes. A hard pull inquiry will appear on your official credit report and can be listed as an error or negative item on your credit score, bringing it down. Dropping credit scores from negative credit history mean higher interest rates when you borrow.

Other factors decrease credit scores, such as missed/late payments or charge-offs and collections. However, it is extremely common for individuals to have negative marks on their credit history from hard pull inquiries.

Some Examples of Soft and Hard Inquiries

The key difference between soft and hard credit checks, aside from how they affect your credit score, is permission.

A lender can perform a soft inquiry without your permission. A lender must have your permission to do a hard inquiry, though.

Below, we’ll look at some examples of both.

Common Soft Inquiries

These, again, are credit checks that a lender does not need a borrower’s permission to perform. They include:

  • Property Rental Applications
  • Credit Card Applications
  • Student Loan Applications
  • Auto Loan Applications
  • Personal Loan Application

Common Hard Inquiries

A hard credit inquiry is just the opposite situation of a soft credit inquiry—it does require a borrower’s permission to perform.

  • Checking your credit scores on Credit Karma
  • “Pre-qualified” credit card offers
  • “Pre-qualified” insurance quotes
  • Employment verification (i.e. background check)

How to Dispute a Hard Credit Check

It’s a good practice to check your credit reports regularly to make sure that there are no errors in the reporting.

If you do find an error in your credit report, it can be disputed by getting in touch with the credit bureau in question or by contacting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

An important note to make here is that you cannot, under any circumstances, dispute a hard inquiry that you gave permission for.

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Final Thoughts

Armed with this info, you should have no problem finding a soft credit check personal loan that meets your needs without wrecking your credit!

Be sure to do your research, try getting as many loan offers as you can (assuming they all use soft credit pulls), and only take out a loan that you can afford the monthly payments for.

Remember, the path to finding your ideal loan is clear and easy. No matter the type of financial assistance you need, there’s a match waiting for you. Go to Fiona to uncover the perfect loan options that cater to your needs, ensuring a seamless experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a Soft Pull Personal Loan?

A soft pull personal loan refers to a loan for which lenders perform a “soft pull” or “soft inquiry” on your credit report to pre-qualify you. This type of credit check does not impact your credit score.

How is a Soft Pull Different from a Hard Pull?

A soft pull is a basic review of your credit score that doesn’t affect your credit history. A hard pull, however, is a complete credit check that occurs when you officially apply for a loan and can temporarily lower your credit score.

Can I Get a Loan Just with a Soft Pull?

Initial loan offers can be made with a soft pull, but a hard pull is typically required before final loan approval to thoroughly assess your creditworthiness.

Are Soft Pull Personal Loans Easier to Qualify For?

Soft pull personal loans are not necessarily easier to qualify for. They simply allow you to check potential interest rates and loan terms without affecting your credit score.

Do All Lenders Perform a Soft Pull for Personal Loans?

Not all lenders perform a soft pull for pre-qualification. Some may go directly to a hard pull. It’s important to ask the lender about their credit inquiry process.

Will Shopping for Soft Pull Personal Loans Affect My Credit Score?

Shopping around and getting pre-qualified with soft pull personal loans will not affect your credit score. Multiple soft inquiries are not reported on your credit history.

What Information is Required for a Soft Pull Loan Application?

For a soft pull loan application, lenders typically require basic information such as your name, address, income, and desired loan amount.

How Accurate are the Loan Terms Estimated from a Soft Pull?

Loan terms estimated from a soft pull are generally accurate but not guaranteed. Final terms may vary after a hard pull and complete review of your financial situation.

Can I Get a Soft Pull Personal Loan with Bad Credit?

Yes, you can still explore soft pull personal loan options with bad credit. This allows you to see potential offers without harming your credit score.

How Quickly Can I Get a Soft Pull Personal Loan?

The speed of getting a soft pull personal loan varies. Pre-qualification can be quick, but the total time also depends on the hard pull process and verification steps by the lender.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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