When it comes to credit scores, will I be penalized for shopping around for the best interest rate?
When a lender or company requests to review your credit reports as part of the loan application process, that request is recorded on your credit reports as a hard inquiry, which may impact your credit scores.
However, if you're shopping for certain types of loans, such as a new auto loan or mortgage loan, multiple inquiries for the same purpose within a given period of time will usually be counted as one inquiry for credit scoring purposes. The period of time may vary depending on the credit score model (the method used to calculate the credit score) used, but it's typically from 14 to 45 days. This allows you to check different lenders and find the best loan terms for you.
All new inquiries will be shown on your credit reports, but only one of the inquiries within a specified window of time will generally impact your credit scores.
This exception generally does not apply to other types of loans, such as credit cards. If you apply for multiple credit cards, for instance, all inquiries will likely affect your credit scores.