In an interesting move that leads the credit bureau industry, Equifax has made “soft pull” credit reports available for tenant screening purposes. Of the three main credit bureaus, Equifax is the only credit bureau that provides the option of a soft pull tenant screening inquiry to the end-user, i.e., to the landlord, apartment or property management company.

Unlike the other two credit bureaus, that only make available soft pull tenant screening inquiries directly to the consumer, Equifax provides the option to background screening companies who re-sell their credit report, to make soft pull tenant inquiries available to the end-user (landlord, apartment, etc.). As an end-user (landlord), it is best to control the input, rather than allow the applicant to potentially compromise the results, by misspelling their name, date of birth or social security number. However, Equifax does require that the background screening company obtain a new Equifax Subscriber Member Number, otherwise their tenant screening inquiries will continue to be hard pull inquiries.

The difference between a soft pull and a hard pull credit inquiry is that soft pull inquiries have no impact upon a consumer’s credit score. Hard pull inquiries, generally are for extensions of credit, and the more hard pull inquiries one has, the lower is that person’s credit score.

Soft pull tenant screening inquiries are an advantage for the consumer, as they will have zero impact upon the consumer’s credit score. However, it also becomes an advantage to the landlord, apartment, realtor or property management company, as they can promote to their prospective residents that their background check will not lower their applicants’ credit scores.

Reliable Background Screening obtained the required new Equifax Subscriber Member Number several months ago, so that all of its Equifax tenant screening reports are now soft pull inquiries.

Posted by: Rudy Troisi, President and CEO, Reliable Background Screening

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