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How does soft search work?

Soft search, also known as Smart search, is a new finance tool which allows you to see if you will be approved for car finance without damaging your credit file.

Previously when you applied for Finance, you automatically got a “hard search” or “search footprint” on your credit file allowing other lenders to see that you had applied for finance – all very invasive! If you did a number of applications in a short period of time, this could result in a negative impact to your credit file, basically damaging a credit score which may have taken you many years to build up.

Can it really affect your credit score and what are the implications?

Many people have found to their horror that lots of searches for example for a new mobile phone contract coupled with searching for car finance credit or a personal loan can in fact damage their ability to get finance on something like a house purchase or a loan for home improvements.

Do not despair however as the main Credit Bureaus such as: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union now offer lenders a new service which these lenders can use to check a person’s credit rating without damaging their file – it is called “soft search”. This  means that you can shop around for credit rather than worrying about if a search will damage your credit score.

We Finance Any Car use Soft search, in the first instance*, to ensure there is no impact on your credit rating!

How does it actually work then?

The most common way for soft search to work is when you access a lender or panel of lenders that offer the soft search facility (like We Finance Any Car), an initial  credit check creates a “soft token” designed not to be seen by other lenders. If your finance application is unfortunately not approved, then you can simply apply with another ( soft search lender) knowing that it won’t impact your credit file negatively.

What if you have bad credit already?

This means that if you use We Finance Any Car,  we will access our panel of soft search lenders to give you the best rate but not at the risk of harming your credit score – good for all but especially if your credit is less than great!

I already have good credit – does soft search matter to me?

This service is also useful for those with Good or Excellent credit history. Having soft search in the first place allows you to see if you are approved. If you are approved then we can also access the uber prime lenders who give the best rate in the market but please note that we will get your approval before doing so as many of these Uber Prime lenders are a bit behind the times and haven’t embraced soft search yet so only offer hard search facilities. Either way, we look out for you!

We Finance Any Car only uses lenders who, in the first instance, use soft search.

Dan Horner (We Finance Any Car Commercial Director)  had this to say on soft search, “We set up We Finance Any Car with a wide panel of lenders to offer customers the best rates out there. Because our team have been doing this a long time, we know how best to set it up so that customers are protected, which is why we use soft search up front at the beginning of every new car search”

*Some Prime lenders still only use traditional hard search when they check your credit report but We Finance Any Car is on your side, we know how it works and we are here to help protect your credit score.

You can pick any car from a reputable FCA authorised and regulated car dealer and We Finance Any Car will get the finance in place and help you secure the car of your dreams. If you haven’t settled on a car yet then we can help you find one as well. Simply ring 01277 80 80 80 to learn more or email us at so one of our friendly and helpful account managers can help you get the best deal.