When Are Companies Able To Run A Credit Check? | Refresh Financial
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When Are Companies Able To Run A Credit Check?

Know when those hard and soft credit inquiries are coming

skyscraperIn the information age, your credit history follows you wherever you go and is something can have a profound impact on your life. So, when are companies able to run a credit check against you?

This blog will identify who and why your credit score might be pulled.

Can they run a credit check without your consent?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes. If you enter into a business relationship with a company, it’s taken as implied consent for them to check your credit. Other scenarios where your score is pulled include the following: Applying to rent or buy a home or apartment, applying for a job, or opening a new wireless account.

Some companies may also pre-screen your credit score in order to pre-approve you for credit, although these are not counted as hard credit checks and will not have an impact on your credit report.

Soft vs. Hard Credit Inquiries

A credit inquiry is when a potential lender checks your credit report to determine the level of risk you are as a borrower. An important aspect to remember when it comes to soft and hard credit inquiries is that soft pulls do not negatively impact your score, whereas a hard inquiry will. Only hard inquiries are listed on your credit report and are available for potential lenders to see.

Who is looking at my credit score?

It’s important to know which situations will require a credit check and whether those checks will impact your credit score.

Below, we have outlined several instances where your credit score checked, and whether it’s a hard or soft pull.



Employers can check your credit during the hiring process. This is a soft inquiry. You can read more about this in our blog post “Will My Bad Credit History Cost Me A New Job?”

Credit Card Companies

Credit companies may check your credit to pre-approve you for credit (soft inquiry). If you have applied for credit, their credit check will be a hard inquiry. They may also check your score throughout your relationship with them to determine if you qualify for limit increases, etc. Again, these are soft inquiries.


Banks can check your credit when you apply for any lending product such as a mortgage, loan or a line of credit. These checks are hard inquiries. Banks can also check your score from time to time throughout your relationship so they can know what products to offer you. These are soft inquiries

Phone/Internet/Wireless Providers

These types of providers can check your credit when you open an account with them. This tells them whether or not you might need to put down a deposit to do business with them or whether you might be entirely too risky to do business with at all. These are soft inquiries.

Insurance Companies

Insurance companies check your credit report for the same reason wireless providers do, and these are also soft inquiries.


Just like electricity or gas, utility companies are in the same boat as internet providers and insurance agents. Soft inquiries as well

 Loan Lenders

Credit checks from lenders are hard inquiries because they are usually the result of you applying for a loan.

 Car Sales

Car dealers can check your credit if you’re working out financing options with them. These are hard inquiries to approve you for financing.


Landlords and Realtors can check your credit if you’re looking to rent from their clients. These are just like background checks and count only as soft inquiries.

Collections Agencies

Debt collectors can perform credit pulls as they have essentially bought your debt and need to know the risks that go along with their purchases. These are soft inquiries.


Did you know that you can check your own score as many as you want? Luckily they will be soft inquiries, and won’t damage your score.

What did you think of our list? Can you think of any other instances where your credit score may be brought up?

Let us know in the comments!


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In February 2015, I tried to apply for a loan so I could pay off my school debts and my credit card. At least put a dent into my payments. Well, things went all wrong and I was denied for approval of a loan.

Refresh Financial contacted me, concerned as they are to help individuals like myself to have a better future. We went over my finances and decided that the Refresh Financial loan will bring up my credit score to apply for a loan.

I was greatly impressed when every month I saw my credit climbing to the numbers I wanted from the beginning. I was entirely happy for my credit score being higher. My job as well, I made it possible to pay bi-weekly on my payments. With that being said, I learnt to pay my outstanding bills instead of spending money.

I only not have better credit, I have better spending habits and I am happy with the results! ”

Jessica, Frog Lake, AB