Do Credit Card Offers Lower My Credit Scores?

November 2nd, 2010

A common misconception is that simply receiving credit card offers can lower your credit scores.  Thankfully this is not true.  The act of receiving a credit card offer is the result of what’s referred to as a “soft inquiry” being posted by the credit reporting agencies.  The inquiry is posted because of a credit card issuer buying your name and address from one of the credit bureaus.

This soft inquiry has no impact on your scores whatsoever.  In fact, only you will see the record of that kind of inquiry.  Lenders, insurance companies, landlords and utility providers do not see soft inquiries.  And, most importantly, neither do credit scoring models.

Now, if you were to sign that application and mail it back to the credit card issuer that COULD result in a lower score.  Why?  Because you’re now actively applying for credit and the credit card issuer will most certainly re-pull your credit reports to determine the final approval terms such as the credit limit and the interest rate.  This is called a “back end” credit report pull.  And, those are definitely going to result in a hard inquiry, which is fair game to credit scoring systems.

John Ulzheimer is the President of Consumer Education for and owner of  He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring, credit score ratings, and identity theft. Formerly of FICO and Equifax, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry.  He is a weekly guest on FOX’s The Willis Report and is the credit blogger for the New York Times and  He has served as a credit expert witness in more than 65 cases and has been qualified to testify in both Federal and State court on the topic of consumer credit.