Last updated on December 20th, 2021
Rebuilding a bad credit score is tricky enough without the potential damage of a hard pull on your credit report. Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent secured credit cards that feature no hard pull on your credit report. These cards are known as “soft pull” credit cards. Here are some of the best soft pull credit cards of 2021.
What Does “Soft Pull” Mean?
First, a refresher into what type of credit cards we are covering here. A “soft pull” is a type of credit inquiry where a bank or card issuer pulls basic information from an applicant’s credit report without needing a deep dive. Soft pulls, also known as “soft inquiries” or a “soft credit check”, can occur without an applicant’s authorization (which isn’t required) and do not include a full look into a person’s credit reports. This, in turn, will not affect your credit score.
Soft credit pulls happen for several reasons, including:
- Checking your credit score via an online app, like Credit Karma
- Credit card issuers checking for pre-approval offers
- Employment checks when beginning a new job
Hard Pulls vs. Soft Pulls
- The bank must get your consent first
- Can impact your credit score
- Lenders can see your entire available credit history
Because a hard inquiry allows a lender to view your full credit report, these types of pulls lower your credit score in the short term. Hard inquiries will drop your credit score down for several months and remain on your credit report for 24 months (two years).
The total number of hard inquiries on your credit report is one of the factors lenders consider when reviewing applications for new credit. Too many inquiries may indicate you are under financial strain and need more credit to manage your existing debts. This indication, in turn, can lead to a greater chance of applications being rejected.
What are the Benefits of a Soft Pull Credit Card?
Because a soft pull has no impact on your credit score, it is preferable to hard inquiries when applying for credit. Those with low credit scores can especially benefit from credit cards that only require a soft pull, since it may give them better chances of receiving new credit.
Getting a soft pull credit card allows those with sub-prime (or deep sub-prime) credit to gain access to new credit, improve their payment history, and decrease their credit utilization – all without the short-term impact of a credit check.
The Best Soft Pull Credit Cards of 2021
Here are our top soft credit pull / inquiry credit cards for 2021:
Surge Secured Mastercard®
Earn 1% Cash back Rewards on every purchase
Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
Zero Fraud Liability
The Surge Mastercard is a popular soft pull credit card offers available. Clicking the Apply Now button takes you to Surge’s secure pre-qualification page, where you can see if you qualify for the card, with no effect on your credit score.
The Surge Mastercard is a versatile credit card that can be an ideal pre-qualification option for people who need to repair or continue building their credit due to less than perfect credit or poor credit. Surge offers automatic account reviews free of charge – which may result in a credit limit increase after displaying financial responsibility and appropriate use.
Other noteworthy features of the Surge Card include:
- Monthly reporting to the major credit bureaus.
- Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from Experian (when signing up for e-statements).
- Ability to use the card wherever Mastercard is accepted.
- Zero Fraud Liability protection.
Self Visa® Credit Card
Start with a Self Credit Builder account
Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
$35 annual fee
The Self Visa® Credit Card is an attractive soft pull card option in that it actually helps you build your credit score twice as fast as other cards on the market. How? Well, the Self Visa requires a Self Credit Builder Account to get started.
Self’s Credit Builder Account is a unique loan product where individuals with no credit history or poor credit open a loan account to “pay off” the loan into a certificate of deposit (CD) account. Once that balance reaches $100, Self customers can choose to use those funds towards the security deposit with a Self Visa Card.
The Self Visa, like many excellent secured cards, reports to the major credit bureaus every month. This regular reporting to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion allows users to quickly raise their credit score through a series of on-time payments. Even better, since the cardholder already has a Seldf Credit Builder Account, they are having their timely payments reported twice – building their credit at double speed!
OpenSky® Secured Visa®
Build credit with on-time payments
Reports to the three leading credit bureaus
Zero Fraud Liability
There are plenty of credit cards on the market for people with bad credit or no credit. One of the more popular options, however, is the OpenSky Secured Visa. Maybe the best reason to consider adding the OpenSky Visa credit card to your wallet is that it requires no credit check. The application process with the OpenSky Secured Visa is straightforward and takes just a few minutes. Decisions are equally quick, making the entire process as painless as possible.
Part of repairing damaged credit is learning the skills to use credit properly. OpenSky is excellent in this aspect, as it provides cardholders with free access to a credit knowledge base. The OpenSky credit education hub offers a range of articles on building credit. These topics include how to receive a free copy of your credit score, how credit scores are calculated, tips on boosting credit, and other advice related to the OpenSky card.
Other reasons why OpenSky is consistently included among the best soft pull credit card lists include the relatively low minimum deposit required and regular reporting to the three major credit bureaus.
Assent Platinum 0% Intro Rate Mastercard®
Full-Feature Platinum Mastercard*
Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus
24/7 Online Access to Your Account
Like the Surge Secured Mastercard, the Assent Platinum 0% Intro Rate Mastercard® is another secured card that offers a form of rewards. Unlike the Surge, the Assent Platinum Secured Card rewards take the form of a 0% introductory APR offer.
New cardholders receive 0% intro APR on purchases for six billing cycles – something almost unheard of with a secured credit card. Users can make a large purchase with the Assent and then pay down that buy over the next six months without any interest payments.
This intriguing sign-up bonus is ideal for those who are considering a major purchase but also want to repair their credit. Instead of using the funds for the big buy, they can instead use them to act as the security deposit and then make the purchase using their Assent Platinum Card. This process acts as a buy now, pay later service, and a credit repair service – all in one.
However, keep in mind that using the card’s entire balance for a purchase will significantly raise credit utilization, which is the second-largest impactor of a person’s FICO credit score. Instead, try using below 30% of your credit limit to help raise your credit score quickly.
Looking for more soft inquiry credit card options to consider? Here are two cards that just missed out on our top spots: